Meet the Startups of Luminate Cohort III

22 Startups Pitched. 10 Were Chosen.

The finalists selected include optics, photonics, and imaging startups that pitched their innovative ideas to an advisory panel comprised of industry experts during the Lightning Awards at the Strong National Museum of Play. Each company received an initial investment of $100,000 and will be a part of Luminate’s third cohort, which will begin in January 2020. The six-month program will help the selected companies speed the commercialization of their technologies and businesses. In June, the teams will compete during Demo Day for $2 million in follow-on funding.

Meet the Finalists

AkknaTek (Kaiserslautern, Germany)

Patients with cataract disease can achieve better vision through premium lenses, but surgeons are often reluctant because of unpredicted postoperative refractive surprises. AkknaTek’s Lens Reviewer overcomes the challenge of implanting premium lenses by correcting the lens centration after implantation. The diagnostic system is equipped with an alignment joystick, an optical imaging system, and an embedded computer. The patient fixates a green light while a series of images are captured, after which a built-in analysis software calculates the intraocular lens (IOL) dislocation. The measurement is non-contact and not associated with further risks for the patient. We aim for new treatment opportunities in cataract surgery, and to minimize post-cataract visual impairments.


ExPrimary (Rockville, MD, USA)

ExPrimary is commercializing a suite of high-performance bioanalytical instrumentation at a fraction of the cost of existing products, along with supporting state-of-the-art assay content. Our mission is to dramatically increase access to bioanalytics across research and diagnostic markets with a specific focus to meet advancing demand in personalized healthcare. ExPrimary products utilize a common iOS mobile operating environment, which is a key aspect in an anticipated 3- to 5-fold expansion of a $30B addressable market.


Haqean (Bangalore, India)

Random numbers lie at the heart of information security and are essential to encryption. But if a third party can reproduce the randomness used, they can reproduce the keys and crack the encryption. Considerable intellectual capital has been spent over the years on developing “true randomness.” Haqean is protecting classified data with enhanced security, delivering seamless encryption of data using a single photon source based technology. This gives them an upper hand in generating “sacred” random numbers naturally from quantum physics with virtually no bias. Combining with homomorphic encryption, Haqean can secure the remotest connection.


Kilo Medical Solutions (Richmond, VA, USA)

In the U.S. alone, one in every 10 babies is born prematurely. The current method to control light conditions for premature infants is fabric covers, essentially blankets that pose safety and sanitary issues and make it difficult for infants to establish their circadian rhythm, gain weight, and stabilize certain vitals. Brise-Solette from Kilo Medical Solutions is a simple device that is applied to the exterior of the incubator/isolette and gives nurses full control of the light environment, allowing customization based on infant needs. Brise-Solette has the ability to implement light cycling and act as a visual indicator in cases of medical emergencies, reducing response times, improving health outcomes, and shortening stays in the NICU.


Nordetect (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Nordetect brings lab-grade testing to farm managers and agronomists, helping them optimize the use of inputs such as fertilizer to move toward a data-driven, adaptive farm practice. Their biochemical analysis instruments can measure the levels of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) in soil, groundwater, hydroponics, and aquaponics samples. Using GPS-enabled soil sampling combined with Lab-on-a-Chip technology and computer vision, Nordetect provides a rapid assessment of key nutrients to give users fertilizer recommendations acre-by-acre. Their one-click device and test kits are easy to operate and integrate directly with the farm management software already in place, giving users a complete digital overview of fertility levels with results that can be used immediately.


Rubitection (Pittsburgh, PA, USA)

In 2008, Medicare stopped reimbursing cost of care for facility-acquired pressure ulcers (PUs), creating a huge demand for reliable and objective early PU assessment tools. Rubitection has developed an innovative, low-cost monitoring tool called the Rubitect Assessment System (RAS) that allows caregivers to quantitatively monitor changes in the skin to personalize PU care. It can detect these cues regardless of patient skin color and independent of the skill of the caregiver. The RAS’ low-risk FDA pathway allows a quick path to a $4.2 billion U.S. bedsore market. Their vision is to become a standard skin wellness tool.


SaNoor Technologies (Allentown, PA, USA)

SaNoor Technologies Inc. is developing laser-based visible light communication (VLC) devices and systems for high-speed, energy-saving, eco-friendly, and safe wireless data communication. SaNoor is addressing the immediate demand for high-speed underwater wireless data link for environmental monitoring, equipment management, process flow automation, and many other industrial applications. Combining laser lighting and data communication functionalities in one system, SaNoor Laser LiFi offers 50x longer transmission distance and 100x higher data rates compared to conventional LED technology. SaNoor’s mission is to provide technical solutions for ultimate connectivity in challenging environments, especially for enabling Internet of Underwater Things (IoUT), and utilize our expertise to create an autonomous world.


Simulated Inanimate Models (SIM) (Rochester, NY, USA)

All surgeons require training to complete their education or effectively use new medical devices and procedures. Simulated Inanimate Models (SIM) manufactures synthetic, lifelike physical anatomical models to help surgeons train to competency, with zero risk to the patient. SIM’s training models replicate all steps of a complete operation—including pre-operative planning, imaging (MRI, CT, and ultrasound), and procedure-specific functionality. Surgeons can complete the training in a simulated environment using SIM’s Augmented Reality Training System (ARTS™), which provides real-time performance feedback, guidance, medical curricula, and certification.


SunDensity (Boston, MA, USA)

SunDensity’s groundbreaking Photonic Smart Coating (PSC)™ technology nearly doubles the energy efficiency of products such as digital cameras and solar cells. These photo-electric devices operate by converting light into electricity. Currently, 85% of the light energy is wasted because the materials within photo-electric devices are better at using invisible infrared light— most of the visible light that we can see is not used. PSC greatly improves energy efficiency by converting the wasted visible light into infrared light that the device is better at using.


Think Outside (Bergen, Norway)

Think Outside is a geo analytics company transferring oil exploration technology to new markets. Their disruptive snow monitoring system, SKNOW, is a digital avalanche safety device that aims to reduce the amount of avalanche accidents and deaths while improving knowledge and sharing about the snowpack. SKNOW generates a live digital snow profile every step of a skier’s way, identifying weak layers and localized avalanche risk levels. The device attaches to the ski and reads the snow layers, GPS position, and skiers’ performance metrics to alert the skier in real time if a weak snow layer is detected. The app/platform also offers crowdsourced snow data, GPS routes, and trip suggestions for safer ski touring.


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Thank You to Our Funder

Funding for the $25 million Luminate accelerator program is provided by Empire State Development through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative award. The program is administered by NextCorps.