Luminate NY is slated to receive an additional $15 million in funding to support three more rounds of the business accelerator competition. The contest focuses on the optics, photonics and imaging industry and is administered by NextCorps, located at Sibley Square in Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone.
Luminate NY supports selected innovators as they grow their ideas in Rochester with help from industry experts, businesses and local universities. The program aims to assist entrepreneurs who are interested in solving challenging industry problems, including, but not limited to: machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles. Funding for the Luminate NY program is being provided through the transformative Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.
The second round of the Luminate NY accelerator competition began in January. The ten finalists selected received an initial investment of $100,000 and are currently immersed in a six-month program to assist the companies with their businesses and accelerate their technology commercialization. The teams will then compete on Demo Day on June 27, 2019 for over $2 million in follow-up funding. Companies must also commit to establishing operations in Rochester for at least 18 months.
Luminate NY round one winner, Colorado-based Double Helix Optics, received the grand prize for its Light Engineering technology. Its SPINDLE 3D nanoimaging module seamlessly integrates with existing microscopes, cameras, and other optical instruments to make 3D super-resolution imaging and tracking accessible and affordable. This is advancing capabilities in biological and biomedical research and drug discovery.
“Luminate provides the early-stage funding, expertise and mentoring that startups need to bring emerging technologies to market. Extending Luminate’s funding and availability will only increase the caliber of companies that come to Rochester to advance what’s possible in the fields of optics, photonics and imaging,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, managing director of Luminate NY.
Luminate NY builds on the U.S. Department of Defense-led American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics, which is supported by a $250 million commitment from New York and is based in Rochester at the state-of-the-art AIM manufacturing facility located in On Semiconductor at Eastman Business Park. First announced by Governor Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden in July 2015, AIM Photonics will help to further secure the Finger Lakes region and nation’s leadership position in emerging technology research, development, and manufacturing. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has also established the $30 Million Photonics Attraction Fund which aims to attract integrated photonics companies to set up manufacturing operations in the greater Rochester area.