Mixer for Luminate’s inaugural cohort networked entrepreneurs with OPI mentors
Rochester, NY: Luminate NY, the world’s largest optics, photonics, and imaging accelerator (OPI), held their first ever Fast Tech Pitch hosted by New York Photonics. The event featured three minute pitches from each of the Luminate companies to a group of over 20 executives from OPI industry leaders including Rochester Precision Optics, Navitar, Optimax and Sydor Technologies, the events’ sponsor. After the pitches, teams and the companies met individually to discuss opportunities ranging from finance, development and supply chain management to technical support. The event’s objective was to connect the Luminate teams to the Rochester OPI ecosystem to foster engagement, mentoring, and collaboration. The event was held at NextCorps’ (formerly High Tech Rochester) new headquarters at Sibley Square.
According to Tom Battley, Executive Director, RRPC and New York Photonics, the goal of the mixer was to help make connections between the cohorts and the companies who might be able to help them further their startup efforts. “We positioned the reception as a networking opportunity to bring together the startups with experienced cluster members who might be able to offer technical advice, manufacturing expertise and key connections. Our Tech Fast Pitch format allowed each finalist to share information about what they’re doing, where they’re going, and what they need to succeed from companies like those in attendance. With about 70 guests, some outstanding connections and contacts were made during the evening.”
Koushik Kumar Nundy, CTO of Think Biosolution, one of the ten cohorts agrees. Nundy was very pleased with the connections he made during the Tech Fast Pitch. “I had an outstanding opportunity to engage with manufacturers who had experience and knowledge about the journey of where photonics and electronics intersect. We’ve already had additional conversations with potential investors and mentors whom I met that evening,” he said.
Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director of Luminate felt “the event showcased not only the cohorts’ abilities and needs but it also provided an opportunity for the companies in attendance to see how their businesses could provide solutions. Seeing our incredible new space demonstrates the tremendous growth potential of Rochester’s significant photonics ecosystem. The excitement felt by all the attendees was definitely palpable.”
Tarsier Optics’ CEO Ian Tolfree shared that the mixer was a huge success for him and his company. “It was amazing to have a group of such high powered decision makers in one room at one time. That one night saved me months of work trying to contact those executives. Additionally, I was introduced to companies I was previously unaware of whom I now expect to forge alliances with both in supply chain and business development.”
After discussions with one Luminate firm, Kerry Van Iseghem, an experienced OPI entrepreneur and New York Cluster member, said, “I was extremely impressed with what this company has been able to do with limited resources and I’d like to know what the Luminate funding committee is looking for in order for his company to secure the grand prize. I’m working with them to better understand their customers, and so far, I see a lot of potential in where his technology is going. It is my belief that his firm is a leader in this technology and their next generation product could become the leading solution in the industry. This could lead to significant production volumes for Rochester area firms, as they are determined to keep their firm and production in the Rochester area. I think we have the ability to help them realize their vision, and I’d like to see how I can help them find the funding to get there.”
All of the companies are part of the six month Luminate NY Accelerator Program. Each received an initial $100K investment as well as a chance to compete for $2M more in investments that will be announced at “Light Tomorrow with Today”, the Demo Day taking place on June 28.
About New York Photonics: New York Photonics is a not-for-profit organization founded to promote and enhance the New York State optics, photonics and imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.
About NextCorps: NextCorps is a non-profit whose mission is to be a catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation-based economic development. By applying business expertise and network connections, NextCorps aids in the formation and profitable growth of companies in the Rochester area and the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York.