Introducing Cohort 4


Our typical program calendar has shifted due to COVID, but it seems fitting to welcome a new season of growth with a new cohort of promising startups. Out of 126 applications from 22 countries and 21 U.S. states, these 10 rose to the top!

  • Andluca Technologies — UV-solar-powered smart glass for improving the energy efficiency of buildings
  • Dynocardia Inc. — First non-invasive blood pressure (NIBP) method that measures BP continuously and with accuracy compared to the gold standard
  • Infrascreen SA — Nanotech solutions for better climate control in greenhouses
  • Layer Metrics Inc. — Monitoring system that enables intelligent 3D printing
  • Mesodyne — Ultra-high, energy-density compact power generators that increase the endurance of small autonomous systems by 10x over batteries alone
  • Momentum Optics — High-quality, affordable, and rapidly delivered custom optics
  • OSCPs Motion Sensing Inc. — Inertial navigation sensors for autonomous vehicles
  • Owl Autonomous Imaging — World’s only 3D Thermal Ranger™, providing HD imaging and precision ranging that is a 150x improvement in resolution and cloud density of LiDAR
  • PreAct Technologies — Sensors and software that make it possible to angle car seats away, deploy airbags earlier, and raise the car suspension before the impact of a crash occurs to save lives
  • 2EyesVision — First technology that allows people to quickly and accurately compare the different corrections available for presbyopia

Far UV Technologies Inc., Qunnect, and Intelon Optics will also be joining Luminate to gain access to regional resources. XR Nanotech and IRIS Light Technology will audit the program to help prepare and advance their businesses for applying to accelerator programs in the future.

Read the full release from Empire State Development.

Congratulations to all the startups joining us for the next round of Luminate! We’re looking forward to officially kicking off cohort 4 next week, and we’ll be sharing spotlights on each of these teams throughout their time in the accelerator.

From Our Advisory Board (and Other OPI Experts)

Don Golini, Chairman of the Luminate Advisory Board and Founder of SANICA Ventures, offers tips for approaching investors:

Don Golini“There’s a saying about investors: ‘If you’re looking for money, ask for advice… If you’re looking for advice, ask for money.’ In other words, you should be building meaningful relationships with potential investors and advisors before you need their money. Investors don’t invest in strangers.

“You should participate and be active in your local entrepreneurial ecosystem when you are not looking for money. Help other entrepreneurs and get to know as many people as you can — that includes peers, advisors, mentors, bankers, accountants, and investors.”

Mark Tolbert, President of TOPTICA Photonics Inc., weighs in with his predictions for the rest of 2021:

Mark Tolbert“Currently, we are seeing a flurry of new ideas. COVID may have given people time to harvest some of their creative juices and it is a common theme to turn a crisis into an opportunity. That being said, I would not be surprised to continue seeing a larger than normal level of early-stage startups and spinoffs. With such major shifts in the business environment, we are seeing new opportunities for products and services which did not exist or were not needed pre-pandemic.

“Additionally in the new work environments, people are coming up with ideas which would have been contained within the previous ideas of a business environment. This new found flexibility in the work environment is also likely to allow for expansion of markets and ideas.”

Mark also shares a helpful tool based on his own changing media consumption:

“I have shifted to electronic and audio almost exclusively this year — an interesting transition for me. As a result, I find myself using tools like Blinkist, a summary source for books. I then shift over to full content when I find topics of high interest.”

Dr. Milton ChangAnother Luminate Advisory Board member, Dr. Milton Chang, author of Toward Entrepreneurship and Managing Partner of Incubic Management, shares books that benefited him most (listed by category):

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, by Michael E. Porter

What’s My Type?, by Kathleen V. Hurley and Theodore E. Dobson

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers, by Geoffrey A. Moore

Management, by Peter F. Drucker; and In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies, by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.


Augmentiqs Prism 2020Congratulations to Augmentiqs for taking home a Prism! Cohort 2 startup Augmentiqs was chosen as the winner of the 2021 SPIE Prism Award in the prestigious life sciences category.

Replay the excitement: watch all of the 2021 winners’ videos.

Happy news from Nordetect! This cohort 3 startup closed a funding round and earned coverage in TechCrunch for the win. (That one’s going on the fridge.)


Spotlight on Rubitection

CEO of Rubitection, Dr. Sanna Gaspard, speaks with our Managing Director, Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, about the reasons she founded her skin health assessment and care management startup. Watch the video interview to learn about Rubitection’s innovation for early bedsore detection, or listen on Spotify or iTunes.

Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD on GRE’s Get Real Podcast

Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE) gave Sujatha the mic on Get Real to share how applications for cohort 4 came from startups all over the world. “Companies are looking at Luminate as a way to launch a U.S. business.”

Listen here.


Be Helpful and You’ll Be Remembered, and Other Tips from Our Special Events and Marketing Consultant

Sandy and Mischa

From the day we announce our cohort members to the awarding of millions in follow-on funding, there are plenty of reasons to get together each year (in-person or virtually), and we’re lucky to have the expertise of events guru Sandy Sloane. Her passion for crafting memorable experiences started at a young age, and her penchant for helping others paved a career path with many A-list encounters and high-profile events. Get to know Sandy Sloane.


How to Hire Quickly as a Startup

Pete PetrellaIt’s a sobering static that 25% of startups fail because they don’t have a strong team. During NextCorps’ Startup Week earlier this month, Pete Petrella from Viaduct and TalentRise shared tips for early-stage businesses to find and retain the right talent.

1. Hire when talent is available. If you know you will have a role to fill in the next few months, start interviewing and connecting now to streamline the process later. Approach talent before you need them.

2. Address holes in your team. Particularly with startups and small businesses, it’s important to identify where there are gaps and hire to fill them. That includes examining your own role.

3. Engage your existing team. Happy employees are your best ambassadors. Encourage your team members to post positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor, which are often checked by talent doing their research on job opportunities.

Get all of Pete’s takeaways.

See You Next Month!