LUMINATE NY ADDS TWO TO ITS WORLD-CLASS ADVISORY BOARD
Optics, Photonics, and Imaging Accelerator Welcomes Jenifer Bunis and Linda Smith
Sept. 12, 2019—Rochester, NY—Luminate NY, the world’s only business accelerator for startups with optics, photonics, and imaging applications, today announced the expansion of its advisory board. Jenifer Bunis and Linda Smith have joined the board, bringing additional expertise and skill sets to the program, including business development and valuation, marketing and sales, and supply chain management. Both Bunis and Smith started their career trajectories in New York, earning B.S. degrees in optics from the University of Rochester.
“Luminate is a strong supporter of women in technology,” said Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate NY. “The population of women in optics is growing but it’s still far from balanced. With women business owners facing different challenges than men, it is imperative for Luminate to have strong female leaders on the board. Their experience will be instrumental to informing the industry and supporting continued change, with the hopes of opening doors for more women to start companies in this field.”
Jenifer Bunis brings 25+ years of experience in the management of all aspects of laser/photonics business. Highlights include nearly two decades with Synrad, a leader in the development of sealed CO2 lasers and electro-optics technologies, where she advanced from Sales Engineer to Executive Vice President. Bunis’ industry experience culminated in becoming the first female board member of Rofin-Sinar, an international laser and systems manufacturer acquired by Coherent in 2016. She also started Westlake Photonics, a photonics consulting firm specializing in talent acquisition, business development, and M&A.
“It’s my job to coach and champion entrepreneurs, to help them convey their skills, and put them in touch with potential investors and employees.” said Bunis. “This, along with my engineering foundation, provides a strong synergy with the mission of Luminate NY. Together, we’ll work to advance the growth trajectory of startups with OPI-enabled technologies, as well as the industry itself.”
Linda Smith founded CERES Technology Advisors, Inc., an M&A advisory firm, in 2005 to serve photonics companies underserved by generalist investment banks. She advised on more than 20 acquisitions and financings and is an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) specializing in the valuation of privately held businesses with core photonics technology. Prior to CERES, Smith held senior marketing and sales management positions at market leaders, Thermo Fisher Scientific and QIOPTIQ and venture capital financed companies who commercialized CMOS and MEMS integrated optics technologies. She is a Fellow of SPIE (International Society of Optics and Photonics) and member of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women™.
“I was extremely impressed by the startups in Luminate’s first two cohorts, and in the program’s management team,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to mentoring the startups, working with the board to further advance OPI innovation, and exploring effective models for funding and supporting early-stage companies.”
The expansion of the advisory board comes as Luminate NY, which is administered by NextCorps, prepares to close its application period for its third cohort. Luminate is looking for entrepreneurs from around the world 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.