Accelerator Continues to Connect the Best Startups Working on Optics, Photonics, and Imaging Enabled Applications with the Region’s World Class OPI Ecosystem to Speed Commercialization

Luminate NY is Supported by “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 28, 2024 — Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the 10 companies selected to take part in round seven of the Luminate NY accelerator program, investment fund, and competition. A total of 137 applications from 25 different countries were received for consideration to participate in the world’s largest accelerator for startups working on industry-first solutions that are enabled by optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI). The companies were selected after pitching their innovative ideas and being scored by an advisory panel comprised of industry experts. Each finalist will receive an initial investment of $100,000 and will have the chance to compete for up to $2 million in follow-on funding upon completion of the accelerator program. The cohort will begin on April 8, 2024, and conclude in late September.

Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner, Hope Knight said, “Congratulations to the latest entrepreneurial companies selected to take part in Luminate NY’s seventh cohort. The cutting-edge ideas from these optics, photonics and imaging startups will help to drive innovation and opportunities in the Finger Lakes Region, renowned globally as an OPI industry leader, and throughout New York State.”

The six-month program is designed to help founders improve their investor readiness and connect them with the vast OPI resources throughout the Finger Lakes Region that can help them speed the commercialization of their technologies. Funding for the program, which is administered by NextCorps, is provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative—the region’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities and foster economic growth.

Cohort seven is solving challenges within a number of industries, including, but not limited to: augmented/virtual reality, communications, life sciences, material science, and quantum.

The 10 selected startups 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—The company is developing 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—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)

Luminate NY Managing Director Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan said, “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.”

Since its inception, Luminate has invested $18 million in 63 startups. The companies in the portfolio have raised an additional $260.1 million and now share an estimated net worth of $675 million. Many of the companies are establishing U.S. operations or some aspect of research and manufacturing in the Rochester region—which continues to be the epicenter of the OPI industry in North America. This has resulted in the creation of 173 jobs in the region.

State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “I’m excited to congratulate the 10 new innovators taking part in the seventh round of the Luminate NY accelerator program. As a city with a deep legacy of leading the way on new and developing technologies, it’s only right that we continue to invest in companies on the cutting-edge of optics, photonics, and imaging innovations. Thank you to Nextcorps for hosting this program in the heart of downtown, and to Empire State Development and Finger Lakes Forward for their continued support of developers in Rochester and across New York.”

Assembly Member Harry Bronson said, “Congratulations to the companies selected for the seventh Luminate NY cohort. These entrepreneurs are bringing ingenuity and creativity to the optics, photonics and imaging industries that will expand opportunity for the entire Finger Lakes Region. I applaud Luminate NY for continuing to promote an important pathway for workforce and economic development by supporting and nurturing startup companies.”

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “Congratulations to the 10 startups selected for this round of Luminate NY. This initiative and these companies will continue to fuel job and economic growth for our region and advance Monroe County as a leader in next-gen optics, photonics and imaging. Thank you to Empire State Development, Finger Lakes Forward and Gov. Kathy Hochul for your continuing commitment to support and invest in the innovative OPI industries that fuel our future economy.”

City of Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, “I want to congratulate all the seventh-round finalists in the Luminate NY accelerator competition and wish them good luck in this next, exciting phase of their development as Rochester job creators. These companies are already winners in this unique program to support and encourage innovation in optics, photonics and imaging around the world. I remain grateful to Governor Hochul and Empire State Development for bringing these 21st century innovators to Rochester through Finger Lakes Forward and helping us achieve our goal of creating a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester by inspiring hope and delivering opportunity for everyone.”

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy and SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles said, “We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to the latest innovative teams selected to take part in the seventh round of the groundbreaking Luminate NY accelerator program. These forward-thinking entrepreneurs are helping to further bolster the optics, photonics, and imaging industry that our region is renowned for worldwide. We can’t wait to learn all about their next-generation ideas.”

For additional information about the Luminate NY accelerator including how to apply, click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive strategy to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. More information is available here.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of ““I LOVE NY”, the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.


Media Contacts

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