Luminate NY Initiative Welcomes Bio-Heavy Cohort II

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AUTUM C. PYLANT, NEWS EDITOR, [email protected]

New York state’s Luminate NY accelerator held its Lightning Awards at the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House in Rochester, going from 21 chosen competing companies to 10 finalists.

10 Startups Receive $100,000 Investments from Luminate NY. Courtesy of Ve Jay Broyld.
Ten startups receive $100,000 investments from Luminate NY. Courtesy of Ve Jay Broyld.

The optics, photonics, and imaging startups will each receive an initial investment of $100,000 and will be a part of the initiative’s second cohort, which will launch in January 2019 at the newly renovated Sibley Building in downtown Rochester.

The six-month program will assist the finalists with their ideas to accelerate the commercialization of their products. The teams will then compete on Demo Day six months later, where they will vie for over $2 million in follow-on funding. Funding for the $10 million program is being provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative award and is being administered by NextCorps.

The competition received interest from more than 70 applicants around the world, including companies in Sweden, India, Canada, Australia, Russia, Israel, Portugal, China, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Sixteen companies from New York state applied, with the remaining coming from these U.S. cities: Boston, San Francisco, Orlando, San Jose, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Fort Collins, Santa Clara, St. Louis, Durham, Columbus, Chicago, Providence, and Philadelphia.

“The OPI market is worth $500 billion today, with analysts projecting significant growth in the coming years,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, Luminate NY managing director. “With our resource-rich OPI ecosystem, the Finger Lakes region has the opportunity to become a major contributor to this growth. We’re already seeing the interest in what Luminate NY and our region have to offer, with 30 percent of our applicants coming from around the world and 48 percent from U.S. states other than New York.”

Luminate NY is building on the U.S. Department of Defense-led American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics, which is supported by a $250 million commitment from New York state and is based in Rochester at the state-of-the-art AIM manufacturing facility located in On Semiconductor at Eastman Business Park.

“Luminate NY is an exciting opportunity, and with these 10 finalists selected for the second cohort, companies understand that Rochester is once again on the forefront of the development of innovative technology that has the potential to revolutionize how we live our lives,” said state Senator Joe Robach. “The results of this program will create opportunities and grow jobs right here in our community."

The Luminate NY initiative supports the selected innovators as they grow their ideas in Rochester with help from industry experts, businesses, and local universities. The program 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.

The 10 selected startups are:

Augmentiqs — Misgav, Israel: Augmentiqs is a technology that transforms the microscope into a smart and connected device.

Circle Optics — New York, N.Y.: Circle Optics has developed the world’s first parallax-free, 360-degree camera that solves the problem of stitching.

Kura Tech — San Francisco, Calif.:
Kura is building revolutionary augmented reality glasses with core tech as a customized optical and display system.

Lumedica Vision — Durham, N.C.:
Lumedica creates affordable light-based scientific and medical instruments that deliver accurate diagnostic results.

Mango teQ LTD — Auckland, New Zealand: Mango teQ is developing frontier technology for AR hardware. Their initial focus is retrofit head-up displays to fit into helmets.

Neurescence — Toronto:
Currently there are no treatments for neurological disorders, because the mechanism for a healthy brain versus a diseased brain is not known. By enabling functional imaging of the central nervous system in the level of neuronal microcircuits, Neurescence addresses this problem and targets three significant markers: neuroscientists doing fundamental brain research, the drug development industry to help determine the effect of their compounds on brain circuits, and as a presurgical assessment tool.

Opalux — Toronto: Opalux’s MyImage embeds a person’s portrait and data into a color-shifting security feature for passports, licenses, and identification cards that is virtually impossible to counterfeit.

The Organic Robotics Lab — Syracuse, N.Y.: ORC’s untethered, battery-powered glove will feel force with light haptic interactions mediated by stretchable optical waveguides.

Ovitz — Rochester, N.Y.: Ovitz has developed individualized vision-enhancing solutions through a custom contact lens that significantly enhances patients’ vision quality.

VPG Medical Inc. — Rochester, N.Y.: VPG Medical Inc. is a digital health service company developing innovative health care solutions by leveraging disrupting monitoring technologies.

For more information, visit

Published: November 2018
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...
machine vision
Machine vision, also known as computer vision or computer sight, refers to the technology that enables machines, typically computers, to interpret and understand visual information from the world, much like the human visual system. It involves the development and application of algorithms and systems that allow machines to acquire, process, analyze, and make decisions based on visual data. Key aspects of machine vision include: Image acquisition: Machine vision systems use various...
Luminate NYRochesterLightning AwardsfinalistsawardsNextCorpsFinger lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization InitiativeDemo DayAmericasEuropeAsia-PacificphotonicsOpticsmachine visionSujatha RamanujanNew YorkAIM PhotonicsJoe RobachAugmentiqsCircle OpticsKura TechLumedica VisionMango teQ Ltd.NeurescenceOpaluxThe Organic Robotics labOvitzVPG MedicalGabe SiegelYasaman SoudagarZak Niazilight speedRapidScan

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