New Year, New Possibilities


As the most challenging year in collective memory winds down, opportunity draws near. We’re closing out 2020 with excitement and optimism — the deadline to apply for cohort 4 is quickly approaching!

Our team of judges is looking forward to reviewing applications from across the country and around the globe. With applicants from Ireland to Israel, the U.K. to Ukraine, South Africa to Spain, and others in between, there’s interest from almost every continent so far. (We have yet to meet a startup from Antarctica, but all are welcome.)

Think you’re a fit for Luminate? There’s still time. Get your application in by January 7, 2021.

Questions about the process? Watch a recording of a virtual office hours session with Director of Operations, Andy Simon, or get in touch directly.

From Our Advisory Board

Members of Luminate’s esteemed Advisory Board weigh in on the year behind us, and what they expect is ahead for businesses in 2021.

Jay Kumler, President, Jenoptik Optical Systems

The third quarter of 2020 had the most new business applications the U.S. Census has recorded since they started tracking the data. The disruption and volatility of an economic crisis is painful, but it creates opportunities for new startups. In 2021, this creative destruction will probably accelerate. Some traditional businesses will disappear, but new businesses will emerge.

Census Business Applications for Q3 2020


Michael Jackman, Chief Operating Officer, Leidos Health Group

2020 was indeed a challenging year. However, innovation is at work and collaboration between governments and private enterprises are proving to be a very effective way to move faster than ever. Expect PPP (public and private partnerships) to grow. This will find innovation and startups such as Moderna and BioNtech speeding up discovery to unprecedented time to market. 

Regardless of the stock market, the economic recovery will be different in each industry and segment. Transportation, hospitality, and restaurants will take some time. Others will need to reinvent themselves. Startups in areas that transform processes and lower costs with clear ROI and value propositions will likely have the most success.


Celebrating Luminate companies’ success

Congratulations to…

  • Opalux for recent coverage in Electronic Products & Technology (EP&T) on the development of Chameleonix, bringing color-changing technology to the consumer goods market.
  • Organic Robotics Corporation for earning a feature in on the evolution of their stretchable sensor technology.
  • Think Biosolution for many achievements: Their COVID-19 platform received a €150,000 grant from the EU through the DIGI-B-CUBE program, and QuasaR received a €15,000 grant from C-Voucher (EU H2020 programme) to make the design more sustainable. Think Bio is setting up a living lab with the HSE (Health Ministry of Ireland) and the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2021. Finally, Think Bio won the Silver Medal in the MedTech Category of Ireland’s National Startup Awards 2020.


Spotlight on Haqean

NextCorps Marketing Director, Holly Barrett, caught up with cohort 3 startup, Haqean, on their quantum security solution for combating counterfeiting. Watch the video interview for a look at how splitting lasers can lead to saving billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

Advances in Breast Cancer Imaging: Three Things Entrepreneurs Should Know

Luminate’s Technology Program Manager, Dr. Damon Diehl, shares takeaways from a conversation with Dr. Zhimin Huo on the role optics has played in breast cancer recovery rate improvements. Read the blog post.

Lessons Learned During a Career in Photonics

Luminate Board Member, Jenifer Bunis, has advice for students, new grads, and entrepreneurs in optics and photonics from her 25+ years of industry experience. Read the blog post.

[WEBINAR] Going Digital with the Microscope

Cohort 2 company, Augmentiqs, is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, December 22 at 11:00 AM EST. Register for the webinar to hear from pathologists using Augmentiqs’ technology to streamline their workflows.

Augmentiqs December 2020 webinar

Thank You for Reading!

The close of 2020 also puts a bow on our first year of The Lens. Not yet subscribed? Don’t miss an update — sign up here. Ideas for future content? Let us know!

See You Next Year!