Expanding on a Proven Model


There’s a new opportunity for early-stage companies with battery or energy storage innovations to connect with funding and support. Applications are now open for the inaugural cohort of ChargeUp, an accelerator powered by New Energy New York (NENY).

ChargeUpParticipants in the six-month hybrid accelerator program will receive $25,000, over 200 hours of curriculum designed to enhance investment-readiness, connections to resources in the federally designated Battery Tech Hub, and opportunities for follow-on investment, including up to $100,000 for technical development. Based on curriculum and learnings from two of NextCorps’ proven accelerators — Luminate and the NextCorps Manufacturing Accelerator — ChargeUp will follow a similar model and be run by Binghamton University’s Koffman Southern Tier Incubator.

Our world is facing energy storage issues that are affecting almost every industry. Testing our proven accelerator methodologies within battery innovation to solve these pressing challenges, and doing so within a rich, industry-leading battery ecosystem makes perfect sense. We’re eager to support the ChargeUp accelerator and to assess the impact it has on improving success rates for bringing novel technologies to market.”

– Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate NY

If you’re innovating anywhere in the battery and energy storage supply chain, apply to ChargeUp by February 23. 

Big News: Apps Open Again Soon!

As we dive into applications and begin to make our selections for Luminate cohort 7, we’re doing something unprecedented: We’re preparing to open our application period back up for the next round. Historically, Luminate has followed a tight recruitment schedule, accepting applications from September through early January. But after seven years, it’s time for a change!

Julia Somerdin of Labby, cohort 6
Julia Somerdin, CEO & Co-Founder of Labby (cohort 6)

Why go to rolling apps? Keeping our application open for the majority of the year will do a few things: Take the pressure off of busy startups to complete their applications during the hectic holiday season and year-end. Allow us to give the founders we meet at international conferences a firm next step at the moment we’ve connected and they’ve expressed interest in applying. And, better accommodate the need for conversations and one-on-ones with teams as they prepare to apply, because we know it’s a big decision!

What’s next? We’re currently addressing feedback and making some adjustments to our application hosted through F6S. Applications will open up early February, so be on the lookout.

Call for Climate Tech Innovators

Venture For ClimateTechDo you have an idea that could help address the climate crisis? Applications are open for cohort 4 of Venture For ClimateTech. Entrepreneurs selected for the global accelerator program will receive up to $50,000 in non-dilutive funding, access to educational programming, and invaluable mentorship — all designed to expedite the journey to first customers, pilot runs, and investment.

Register for the January 31 alumni roundtable to hear from founders who have gone through the program, and apply by March 1.

New Face at Luminate

Join us in welcoming Natalie Antal, Operations Manager for NSF Programming. Prior to joining Luminate to oversee National Science Foundation grant initiatives, Natalie Antal served as the Finance, Operations, and Program Administrator with the Institute for Matter At eXtreme Energy Densities (IMAXED) at the University of Rochester. She spent nine years as the Associate Director of the UofR Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where she managed grant- and donor-funded student co-curricular programming such as business plan competitions and a student incubator. 

Natalie is an active supporter of Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester, which provides a safe and accessible baseball diamond and playground for children and adults of all abilities. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dog sitting, and planning (and taking) family excursions across the country with her husband and two sons.

Portfolio Wins

Circle Optics and Scout are among 18 companies selected for SpaceWERX awards, made possible through the 2023 SpaceWERX Tactically Responsive Space Challenge. The challenge is meant to support cutting-edge concepts that could enable the Space Force to respond more rapidly and flexibly to emerging on-orbit threats by 2026.

Luminate Companies Take On CES

The Consumer Electronics Show is the place to showcase new products, and that’s exactly what multiple Luminate portfolio companies were there to do earlier this month.

Arovia unveiled the next-generation Splay, a 2-in-1 foldable monitor and projector that offers a unique solution for individuals seeking a versatile and portable display option.

PreAct Technologies debuted a new line of flash LiDAR sensors — Sahara, Borrego, and Moab — which provide affordable, powerful sensing capabilities for a wide range of applications.

Luminate's Damon Diehl and PreAct Technologies at CES 2024
Luminate’s Dr. Damon Diehl, Director of Technology Integration, was at CES 2024 to take in the tech, meet with startups, and catch up with Luminate companies like PreAct Technologies.

Top Reads to Kick Off 2024

Here’s what experts say will be noteworthy this year:

2023 Mergers & Acquisitions in Photonics — an M&A recap on the OPI industry from CERES, with 2024 trends

Trends to Watch in Photonics in 2024 — observations and predictions from Photonics Spectra

10 Trends to Watch in 2024 — thoughts from Harvard Business School faculty

See You at Photonics West!

Members of the Luminate team and a number of our portfolio companies will be in San Francisco for SPIE Photonics West. Stop by booth #260 in the NY Corridor to say hello!

Tabling with us at Photonics West: