Cohort 7 Kick-Off Will Align with Totality


As parts of North America prepare for the solar eclipse, the Luminate team is getting ready for the arrival of our next cohort of brilliant startups. We’ll officially welcome the teams to our space in Rochester on April 8, the same day our city will experience totality. Talk about an incredible start!

“Each company in cohort seven is bringing new capabilities to industry to change the way we solve pressing challenges, as well as new opportunities for the universities, supply chain partners, manufacturers, and investors here that are eager to collaborate in helping them advance their businesses and technologies,” said Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director of Luminate.

Congratulations to all the startups joining us for the seventh round of Luminate! The ten selected startups and their solutions include:

  • AI Optics, Inc. — Handheld imaging technology that integrates Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide a new standard of care for disease screening, starting with preventing vision loss
  • cureVision — Automatic, rapid 3D wound measurement, analysis, and reporting for hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory and home care
  • Enlipsium — Advanced nanomaterials for future X-ray imaging devices, anti-counterfeiting, and self-cleaning coatings
  • iLoF (Intelligent Lab on Fiber) — Non-invasive tracking, screening, and stratification for drug discovery using a cloud-based library of optical fingerprints, powered by photonics and AI
  • Nicslab, Inc. — Fabless chip company developing electronics and photonics integrated circuits for future optical solutions in data centers, AI, instrumentation, and quantum computing
  • Photosynthetic — New manufacturing method enabling complex 3D geometries to be produced at mass-production speeds, while retaining sub-micron feature sizes
  • Q-Block Computing Inc. — Fault-tolerant quantum devices for advanced computation, communication, and sensing
  • SaferStreet Solutions — Traffic safety devices that target unsafe driving behavior and collect data to help communities reduce speeding, distracted driving, car crashes, and lack of seat belt usage
  • SeeTrue Technologies — Advanced eye-tracking technology featuring a robust sensing solution for use in health care, augmented and virtual reality, and industry applications
  • VoxelSensors — Groundbreaking Single-Photon Active Event Sensor that enables power-efficient and intuitive interaction for spatial interfaces and mobile extended reality (XR)

Read the full announcement from Empire State Development.

Ramanujan Selected for Circle of Excellence

Sujatha Ramanujan selected for RBJ's 2024 Circle of ExcellenceDr. Sujatha Ramanujan has been named a Rochester Business Journal 2024 Circle of Excellence Honoree. This award recognizes women of longstanding, notable success in the Greater Rochester community who are leading the way for other women.

Through her leadership at Luminate, Dr. Ramanujan plays a pivotal role in nurturing and propelling numerous startups towards success while driving economic growth in the region. Her commitment to championing women and minority entrepreneurs has inspired countless innovators to pursue their dreams fearlessly. Congrats on this remarkable achievement, Sujatha!

Women Changemakers Weigh In on Gender Equity

Even though more women are in the workplace and positions of leadership than ever before, the gender pay gap and biases still exist. Luminate’s Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan was one of ten forceful women changemakers featured in a data-rich piece by the Rochester Beacon on the state of women at work. Read the article for insights from Dr. Ramanujan and other leaders in Rochester reflecting on their experiences and sharing advice for women entering the workforce.

The whole team at Luminate is encouraged by the theme set by the United Nations for International Women’s Day this past March 8 — “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.” Luminate is proud to back our women entrepreneurs and to continue to add more promising women-led businesses to our portfolio. May we all stand firmly behind the UN’s theme and commit to empowering every woman to thrive.

Portfolio Wins

Rubitection was one of two pediatric medical device innovators selected as winners of the 2024 Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids! competition, hosted by the Alliance for Pediatric Device Innovation (APDI) and MedTech Color. The winners received a combined $50,000 in grant funding from APDI to support the advancement of pediatric medical technologies to the market.

Mesodyne took home Best in Show at the Space and Defense Innovation Showcase and SDI Ignite Awards for its patented LightCell, a new class of power generator that converts fuel into electricity via light. The pitch competition and awards event is designed to surface new technologies that could help advance and protect our nation and/or make lives better for service members. 

Circle Optics has been awarded a $1.25M SBIR Phase II grant by AFWERX to develop 3D modeling using 360-degree image capture and sensor fusion, aimed at enhancing the United States’ national defense capabilities.

Dynocardia is partnering with NYC Health + Hospitals for a study that aims to evaluate the effectiveness of Dynocardia’s ViTrack in diagnosing hypertensive diseases of pregnancy (HDP) accurately and quickly, which could lead to a meaningful improvement in patient care and management. The research is being funded by a $2.3M grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

EmGenisys announced open enrollment for EmVision, technology that analyzes the viability and health of embryos at the microscope to give cattle producers and embryologists objective data to help improve pregnancy rates.

PreAct Technologies, a trailblazer in near-field flash LiDAR technology, has joined forces with Outsight, the leading innovator in 3D Spatial AI Software Solutions, to revolutionize the fields of Smart Infrastructure and People Flow Monitoring. The partnership is a game-changer, particularly for applications requiring detailed spatial analysis and monitoring, such as smart city infrastructure, retail, transportation hubs, and in any other context requiring efficient people flow management in high-density areas.

Qunnect, a leader in quantum-secure networking technology, took home a Prism Award in the quantum technology category for its QU-APC (Auto Polarization Compensator) instrument earlier this year.

Qunnect takes home a 2024 Prism Award in the Quantum category

News from the Optics Epicenter

Laser lab to receive $99.4M in federal funds

Funding for the University of Rochester’s internationally recognized Laboratory for Laser Energetics will ensure researchers from around the world have a high-quality facility for years to come.

Congressman Joe Morelle Names Monroe Community College Professor Alexis Vogt as Guest to State of the Union Address

Morelle’s invitation to Vogt, Endowed Chair and Professor of Optics at Monroe Community College, highlights her years of leadership in the high-tech optics field and her efforts to propel our region to the forefront of the innovation economy.

Hochul in Rochester announcing revitalization funds for three local municipalities

Part of $13.8M in redevelopment funds for Monroe Community College will support MCC’s nation-leading Optical Systems Technology program.

Funding Opportunities

Applications for both GENIUS NY and the Grow-NY Food & Agriculture Competition are due on May 15.

GENIUS NY is an immersive startup accelerator program that invests $3M annually into five pre-seed/seed-stage companies focused on uncrewed aerial systems, automation, and advanced air mobility. Apply to be part of round 8 of the accelerator for your chance at investment, plus a host of program services — from mentorship to connections to investors and inroads to customers.


Grow-NY awards $3M each year to seven early-stage food and agriculture startups from across the globe that are working to serve a growing population while striving to employ sustainable, environmentally conscious, and/or healthy methods. Apply for round six of the business competition for your shot at funding, mentorship, and customized business development trips to the region.

U.S.-Based Companies: Search for SBIR/STTR Grants

It’s now easier to source federal funding opportunities. Head to for a calendar view of all agencies’ solicitations by date.

See You Next Month!