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Luminate NY Accelerator Announces Round II Winners

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MANON MIRABELLI, NEWS EDITOR Manon.Mirabelli@Photonics.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 28, 2019 — Ovitz Corp., the developer of individualized contact lenses to improve vision quality, took the top prize at the Luminate NY competition — $1 million. The Round II winners were announced on June 27 during the Light and Sound Interactive conference at the CGI International Jazz Festival in downtown Rochester, N.Y.

“We’re at the point where we’re entering the market,” said Ovitz founder and CEO, Felix Kim. “We now have the capital to do that.”

Kim said his inspiration for the invention was his sister who suffers from corneal disease. His individualized vision-enhancing technology makes it possible for those with irregular corneas to see clearly. It also enhances depth perception.

Felix Kim, founder and CEO of Ovitz, the Luminate 2019 winner of the $1 million top prize, on the stage at the awards event in Rochester, N.Y. Courtesy of Manon Mirabelli.
Felix Kim, founder and CEO of Ovitz Corp., the Luminate 2019 winner of the $1 million top prize, on the stage at the awards event in Rochester, N.Y. Courtesy of Manon Mirabelli.

“The contact lenses can accurately measure and correct vision for clear 20/20 vision,” he said. “Patients with irregular corneas suffer from severe blurry and distorted vision, making daily tasks like reading or driving very difficult.”

The lenses capture with high accuracy more than 64 data points to characterize a patient’s visual function, making it possible to correct vision more accurately than current methods, Kim said. They are currently in practical use at ophthalmologists’ offices in Rochester.

Kim, a native of South Korea who came to the city in 2008 to attend the University of Rochester, said the development of the contact lenses began as a student project, but grew when a private investor approached him. Kim will continue to grow his business in Rochester, a condition of winning the prize.

Sujatha Ramanujan, Luminate managing director, said Ovitz was an attractive choice as a winner because the company's technology is already developed, and it now needs an investment to grow and reach its full potential. “This will help them launch,” she said. “A lot of startups don’t take the leap because they are afraid to hire staff. Ovitz can now do that.”

Three other startups were also awarded funds. VPG Medical Inc. came in second, winning $500,000 for its cardiac monitor that uses smart devices and laptops to deliver improved diagnoses and therapeutic strategies.

In third place was Lumedica Vision Inc., whose mission is to reduce blindness with an easily transportable system that can diagnose retina disease. The company was awarded $250,000.

Circle Optics, with its 360° parallax-free camera, came in fourth place and also received $250,000. The camera instantly aligns fields of view without post-processing. Circle Optics won an additional $10,000 for being the audience favorite.

All of the companies that competed, Ramanjan said, gained valuable exposure to investors and are now in a better position to advance their developments. “There was no bad investment on that stage,” she said.

The Luminate business acceleration program is funded by New York’s Empire State Development Finger Lakes Forward initiative. For a list of the Round II nominees, read Luminate NY Set to Award $1M to Startup, Photonics.com, June 2019.

If you’re an OPI startup — from early stage to Series A funding — or a scientist or engineer who has a technology that’s moving from lab to market, join us for a free webinar on Sept. 5 to learn more about how you can qualify for the Luminate Business Accelerator program. Link here for more information.

 

 


Photonics.com
Jun 2019
GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
ophthalmology
The branch of medicine involved in the study of the anatomy, functions, diseases and treatments of the eye.
Research & TechnologyBusinesseducationcommercializationfundingAmericasLuminate AcceleratoropticsimagingphotonicsOvitzophthalmologylensesSujatha Ramanujan

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