Market Overview

World's Largest Startup Accelerator of Optics, Photonics and Imaging Technologies Encourages Startups to Apply to Win $1 Million in Funding by Sept. 24


ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 05, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Luminate NY—the world's only business accelerator for startups with optics, photonics and imaging (OPI) enabled applications—is offering early-stage startups an opportunity to grow their businesses. Luminate NY provides significant support, including an initial $100,000 convertible note, expert mentorship, and a chance to win up to $1 million in follow-on funding, provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The deadline to compete for a spot in Cohort II of Luminate is quickly approaching, with applications due by 11:59 PM EDT, September 24, 2018.

"Luminate NY is an excellent opportunity for emerging startups to leverage the Finger Lakes region's vast imaging and optics resources and New York's strategic investments in photonics and advanced manufacturing," said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. "By fostering big ideas in OPI, we're providing the platform for bringing novel technologies to market that can transform what's possible in these industries."

Technologies from Cohort 1 include several industry firsts: 3-D super resolution nanoscale imaging for scientists, medicine and pharma; 360/VR throwable tactical cameras for defense and public safety; collapsible pop-up display for business and entertainment; high-resolution biomechanics imaging to improve optic disease diagnosis; and Gabor-domain optical coherence microscopy technology for non-invasive, optical biopsies.

"Having access to a global network of experts, comprehensive training and funding can really help advance the trajectory of a startup, especially those that are developing emerging technologies," said Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Executive Director, Luminate NY. "We're looking for visionary entrepreneurs who want to make their mark--in innovation and industry."

Luminate NY—a program of NextCorps—will select 10 companies from a pool of applicants from around the world for this year's competition. The company's inaugural competition was held in June 2018, and awarded Boulder, Colorado-based Double Helix Optics as the winner of the first round. This year's winning companies will receive immediate investment and will be admitted to Luminate's six-month accelerator program in Rochester, New York, starting in January 2019.

Leveraging an extensive network of industry experts, the rigorous program provides customized, structured curriculum to guide startups through actionable business planning that is focused on commercializing and scaling their businesses. Members also benefit from working alongside peer OPI startups in the program, leveraging best practices and helping each other toward success. Upon graduation from the program in June 2019, the companies will compete for a total of $2 million in follow-on funding to further their business.

Application Process - September 24, 2018 - Deadline Quickly Approaching
Applicants for Luminate NY must be incorporated, have people working full-time on the business, and should have proven their core technology, preferably having developed a working prototype. Applications will be accepted through 11:59 PM on September 24. Apply to Luminate at

For more information on Luminate NY, go to

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 
Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

Media Contact:
Shannon Wojcik
585-831-6267 (m)

Videos accopmanying this announcement are available at

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