Rochester’s optics, photonics, and imaging accelerator also names national advisory board members

Rochester, NY – The Luminate optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI) accelerator names seasoned business executive and veteran entrepreneur, Sujatha Ramanujan, as its Managing Director.

“Our original vision behind the Luminate accelerator was to provide OPI enabled startups across the country with a truly unique experience that would improve their chance of succeeding in the marketplace. By spending 6 months in Rochester, with access to our specialized university labs, faculty, and established OPI companies, along with an intensive curriculum and experienced mentors, our startups will get an “unfair advantage”. With firsthand experience in her own startups, her deep network, and passion for helping early stage companies, Sujatha will make this vision a reality,” says Jim Senall, President, High Tech Rochester.

Announced last month, Luminate is a new $5M per year accelerator for OPI enabled startups. The organization is formally accepting applications from prospective companies with visionary entrepreneurs solving challenging problems including but not limited to: machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance, augmented & virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles. Teams will be competing for one of ten available slots in the first cohort, guaranteeing them a minimum investment of $100,000, and potentially as much as $1M. Luminate applicants must be incorporated, have a full-time team, should have proven their core technology, and preferably developed a working prototype.

Serial Entrepreneur
Sujatha began her career by first working for an early stage company and then launching an optics related startup out of her garage with other graduate students. She relocated to Rochester and joined Kodak’s R&D team as a research scientist. Eventually she became director of strategic alliances, and then moved to Carestream Health where she held titles of CTO of Mammography CAD and Worldwide Product line manager. An accomplished scientist and engineer, Sujatha is named on 28 issued US patents and is widely published.

Again in 2011, for the third time, Sujatha caught the startup bug and joined the executive team of a very early stage nanoparticle company, Intrinsiq Materials, as COO and VP. At Intrinsiq she was responsible for setting up US operations, working with VCs and investors, overseeing global sales and marketing, IP strategy, and strategic planning. “I am truly delighted to have the opportunity to lead this high impact program with potential to change the OPI landscape for years to come. I started my professional career in the field of optics, and it’s only fitting that I can once again immerse myself in this exciting and enabling field as the Managing Director of Luminate,” Ramanujan says.

Board of Advisors
In today’s announcement, Luminate also announced its advisory board, consisting of a group of nationally recognized OPI entrepreneurs, innovators, business executives, and investors.

  • Eugene Arthurs – CEO, SPIE
  • Milton Chang – Managing Director, Incubic Management
  • Stuart Elby – SVP, Data Center Business Group, Infinera
  • Stephen D. Fantone – Founder & President, Optikos Corporation
  • Mike Foley – Managing Director, Artemis Capital Partners, L.P.
  • Chair, Don Golini – Founder, QED Technologies
  • Jay Kumler – President, Jenoptik Optical Systems
  • Michael Liehr – CEO, AIM Photonics
  • Duncan Moore – Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship, University of Rochester
  • Ryne Raffaelle – VP for Research and Associate Provost, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Darius Sankey – CEO, 3Discovered
  • Jim Senall – President, High Tech of Rochester

“The addition of this group of world-class advisors will help improve the chances of Luminate companies ultimately succeeding. The board will participate in the recruitment, selection, coaching, networking and mentoring of the cohort. Each member of the advisory board has a passion for helping new entrepreneurs, and a wealth of knowledge that will guide our startups to spend their time avoiding mistakes, rather than fixing them. That kind of assistance is simply invaluable,” says Don Golini, Advisory Board Chair.

For those interested in getting involved with the Luminate accelerator, either as a startup, mentor, corporate or venture partner, please visit our website www.luminate.org.

About High Tech Rochester
High Tech Rochester (HTR) is a non-profit whose mission is to help tech entrepreneurs launch successful companies, and to help established businesses increase revenues and profits. HTR offers a suite of services that include various incubator and accelerator programs for startups as well as growth consulting services for established companies. Learn more at: www.htr.org.

To view this press release on the Empire State Development website, click here.

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