Additional Backing Will Support Three More Rounds of Optics, Photonics and Imaging Competition

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $15 million in additional funding is being made available to support three more rounds of the Luminate NY business accelerator competition in Rochester.

The Luminate competition focuses exclusively on the optics, photonics and imaging industry. The program supports selected innovators as they grow their ideas in Rochester with help from industry experts, businesses and local universities. Luminate 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, 2019. The ten finalists 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 for pathology technology. Double Helix’s 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. The company was one of two Rochester winners of a PRISM Award at Photonics West 2019 in San Francisco, on February 7.

Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate NY said, “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.”

Luminate NY builds on New York Photonics’ long-standing international reputation as America’s preeminent location for optics, photonics and imaging development, talent, education, and advanced component production. The region’s OPI ecosystem continues to flourish, with significant company expansions announced in 2018.

Additional boosts have been recent announcements of technological advances and additional funding at the Unniversity of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and the U.S. Department of Defense-led American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics, the public/private consortium leading the nation’s bid to become a significant player in the manufacture of integrated photonics devices. Both are located in Rochester.

The region’s economic development oversight group, 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.

Congressman Joseph D. Morelle said, “This additional funding for Luminate will help to further cement the Finger Lakes region’s place as a world-leader in the high-tech optics, photonics, and imaging cluster. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continued investment in innovative technologies that will create new, good-paying jobs and bolster our regional economy.”

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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.


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