Another Brilliant Year


It’s hard to believe that Luminate is coming up on its seventh year! Each has been marked by growth in its own way — new connections, partnerships, and milestones that help us build on our reputation as an internationally sought-after accelerator. Here are just a few highlights from 2023: 

  • We were awarded funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch a new accelerator with Binghamton University’s Koffman Southern Tier Incubator for startups working on energy storage applications. The accelerator will harness proven curriculum from Luminate and NextCorps’ Manufacturing Accelerator, and we’re currently building our team to support the initiative. (Watch for applications to open in early January. If you’re innovating in battery and energy storage, we encourage you to apply!)
  • We bolstered our Advisory Board with the addition of Dr. Thomas G. Brown, Director of the Institute of Optics; Paul Pickering, Managing Partner at Silicon Catalyst; Marc Tricard, Vice President & General Manager of Optical Solutions Business at MKS Instruments; and Edward White, the Governor’s selection on the New York State Photonics Board of Officers.
  • We broke a personal record with the farthest-reaching Luminate Finals celebration yet, as virtual attendees hailed from 36 different countries! (Read the recap.)
  • (Breaking news!) We recently brought Veronica LoCurcio on board as our new Operations Manager to run the day-to-day activities of the accelerator. We’re thrilled to have her on the team as we prepare to welcome cohort 7! Learn more about Veronica below.

Join Us in 2024! If you haven’t submitted your application yet, there’s still time — but don’t delay! Applications are due by 11:59 PM EDT on Monday, January 8. Apply soon.

If you still have questions about Luminate and whether it’s right for your company, check out our info sessions. Recordings are available for the first two sessions, or you can register to join our last session, taking place next Thursday, January 4 with our Director of Technology Integration, Dr. Damon Diehl.

Happy New Year from All of Us at Luminate!

The Luminate team at Finals 2023

Year-End Tech Trends & Forecasts: Luminate Advisors Weigh In

As we wrap up the year, we spoke with some of our advisors about the trends they’re interested in and what they think is coming next.

The Implications of Precision Medicine

Mike Jackman, COO of Leidos Health Group, is paying particular attention to precision medicine, which uses genetic information to tailor treatments to the individual patient.

“This approach is based on the idea that people with the same disease may respond differently to the same treatment,” said Jackman. “Precision medicine is being used to develop new treatments for a variety of diseases, including cancer and heart disease. This is a game changer and can identify certain unique cases and diseases earlier.”

A Focus on Shared Experiences

“With the successful opening of Sphere in Las Vegas, we see a real desire for communal immersive experiences,” said Dr. Stu Elby, SVP of Advanced Engineering at Madison Square Garden Ventures. “VR headsets are isolating.”

“One important area of advancement will be AR, which will merge the ability to partake in a communal, immersive interactive experience while getting individualized information tied to that experience. This will require higher contrast, wider-field-of-view displays connected via ultra-wide band wireless communications for a cost below $100 so that they can be handed out to guests. Several component-level breakthroughs are necessary to achieve this.”

Read the full post.

New Face at Luminate

Join us in welcoming Veronica LoCurcio, Luminate’s new Operations Manager! Veronica has worked with startups and global businesses on four continents for the last two decades. Specializing in operations, program, and project management, her background includes tours of duty in manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, ecommerce, financial services, consulting, learning and development, construction, digital assets and blockchain, and analytics.

Veronica is fluent in English, French, and Spanish and conversant in Italian and Portuguese. In her spare time, she enjoys live music, art, and traveling. Late January 2024 will mark two years with her beloved pup, Blu!

Portfolio Wins

Momentum Optics and Photonect Interconnect Solutions are both competing in SPIE’s 2024 Startup Challenge as finalists in the Deep Tech category. Congratulations and best of luck!

Momentum Optics and Mosaic Microsystems received $1,675,000 and $1,000,000 respectively as winners of the Defense Business Accelerator (DBX) Microelectronics Challenge, a Department of Defense (DOD)-funded initiative. In addition to funding, the companies will receive commercialization support through an ongoing accelerator program that includes one-on-one coaching, access to resources, and more.

Qunnect has teamed up with Qubitekk in the first industry collaboration to establish quantum networking interoperability on a commercial network, marking a pivotal moment in the quantum technology landscape.

MEETOPTICS’ CEO Barbara Buades gave an in-depth look at her team’s growing search and comparison website for photonics products and services in a Novus Light profile.

Future of Artificial Vision with Dr. Charbel Rizk

Luminate companies collide! Dr. Charbel Rizk, Founder, CEO, CTO of Oculi, was recently featured on the 360° Pulse Podcast from Circle Optics. Dr. Rizk speaks to the genesis of his company’s novel technology, his perspective on ethics in areas like AI, and his experience in the Luminate accelerator, where his team took home $1M this year.

Read the blog recap or catch the full podcast episode here.

We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season. See you next year!