World’s largest startup accelerator for optics, photonics, and imaging enabled applications

What is Luminate?

Luminate is a startup accelerator focused on advancing next generation optics, photonics, and imaging enabled companies. We seek visionary entrepreneurs who are solving difficult problems in augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, machine vision, biophotonics, and other fields. Funded by New York State, and based in the optics and imaging capital of the world – Rochester, NY.

Get a Closer Look at Luminate:
Listen to the OSA/OIDA recorded webinar from Aug. 21 to hear from Luminate directors and previous cohort companies on what it’s like to participate in Luminate.

Why Apply?

$3,000,000 Invested Annually
Each cohort company receives a $100K investment to begin the program. At the end of six months, $2M in additional seed money is distributed among four winning teams at Demo Day, with other possible investments from corporate and venture partners in the audience. 

Personal Mentorship from the Leaders in Optics
Our world-class advisory board and team are experienced entrepreneurs and CEOs at top OPI companies, the who’s who of the industry. Our mentors work closely with each team to help further their business goals. 

Optics Lab & Onsite Technician
Luminate provides a fully equipped OPI R&D laboratory, and a full-time technician (and 30-year optics veteran) is available to provide expert guidance and oversight.

OPI Specific Training & Regular Feedback
Cohort teams receive intensive business development training developed specifically for OPI startups. Teams stay on track through regular meetings with Luminate directors and board of advisors. This interaction encourages startup growth and helps identify and address critical problems. 

Located in Rochester, the Optics Capital of the World
Rochester, NY is a photonics hub and home to over 150 optics companies integral to the supply chain of the photonics industry. We work closely with the local ecosystem and infrastructure to provide Luminate companies with the needed resources and expertise.

Want to talk one-on-one?

Connect with Andy Simon, Operations Director, to see if Luminate is right for your startup. Click below to sign up for a time slot.


Who Should Apply?

•  Companies that have already proven their technologies at least at lab scale.
•  Companies must be incorporated, and have a team of at least two members committed full time.
•  C-level team members able to locate in Rochester for the 6 months to take full advantage of the programs benefits.

Key Program Dates:


  • June 17  – Application opens
  • September 23  – Application closes
  • October – Applications reviewed and 20 semi-finalists selected
  • November – Lightning Round – 20 teams pitch in Rochester, NY where 10 teams are selected for a $100K investment each and entrance in the 2020 Luminate program


  • January –10 teams begin accelerator program at Luminate incubation space
  • June – Demo Day and the awarding of $2 million in follow-on funding with possible additional investments from corporate and venture partners

Three-month programs aren’t sufficient. Luminate gave us more time, along with the business tools and 1:1 coaching to bring all the pieces together.

$1M Investment from Luminate

Leslie Kimerling

CEO, DoubleHelix

Since joining Luminate, we have raised over $5M in new funding.  The program has been instrumental in our growth.

$500K Investment from Luminate

Niaz Karim

CEO, Intelon Optics

Luminate allowed me to do something more for my business that I couldn’t do myself.

$250K Investment from Luminate

Jason Babcock

CEO, Positive Science

Questions? Check out our FAQ or contact us.