Luminate NY Calling for 2020 Competition Applicants

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ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 20, 2019 — Luminate NY is seeking applicants for its third round of entrepreneurship awards in optics, photonics, and imaging [OPI] just as it is poised to announce the winners of its second competition on June 27 at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Luminate NY, administered by NextCorps, is seeking entrepreneurs worldwide who are interested in solving OPI challenges, including but not limited to: machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles. The winning teams must commit to remain in the region for at least 18 months.

Selected teams will compete for one of 10 available slots in the third cohort of companies. The Luminate NY accelerator, located in Rochester, helps promising OPI companies advance their technologies and businesses with a $100,000 monetary award and a six-month mentoring program.

Once selected, teams will compete for follow-on funding, including a $1 million top prize; $500,000 second prize; and two $250,000 prizes. The Luminate NY program is funded by the transformative Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

Applicants for Luminate NY must be incorporated, have at least two full-time employees, and should have proven their core technology, preferably having developed a working prototype. Once admitted, companies will receive assistance, including capital, access to comprehensive lab facilities for technology development, education, and business mentoring. Applications will be accepted now through September 23, 2019.

“The caliber and diversity of the startups participating in Luminate NY [are] truly impressive, not just for their ability to change industry, but [how they] continue to elevate the benchmark OPI ecosystem that already exists here in the Finger Lakes region,”  said Sujatha Ramanujan, managing director of Luminate NY.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is calling for applicants from around the world to compete in the third round of OPI startup companies looking to grow their businesses.

“Luminate NY is a globally recognized competition and resource for the most promising new companies in the cutting-edge fields of optics, photonics, and imaging,” Cuomo said. “This accelerator represents just one of the many strategic industry investments New York is making to foster new business growth and improve job opportunities as we continue working to propel the Finger Lakes economy forward.”

The recruitment for new OPI-enabled technologies comes just one week before Luminate NY's second cohort of companies competes for $2 million in follow-on funding. The free “Light Tomorrow with Today” Demo Day event will be held on June 27, 2019, at the CGI Big Tent at the Rochester International Jazz Festival. One company will be awarded $1 million, with the additional $1 million to be awarded to three companies based on judges’ ratings.

Luminate NY continues to build on the region’s historically strong OPI industry sector. Rochester is home to the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics' Test, Assembly, and Packaging facility at Eastman Business Park; the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics; the Rochester Institute of Technology; and more than 100 local OPI companies and 17,000 employees who are building on the region’s legacy as a global imaging hub.

Published: June 2019
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