World’s largest startup accelerator for optics, photonics, and imaging enabled applications

What is Luminate?

Luminate is a startup accelerator focused on advancing next generation optics, photonics, and imaging enabled companies. We seek visionary entrepreneurs who are solving difficult problems in augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, machine vision, biophotonics, and other fields. Funded by New York State, and based in the optics and imaging capital of the world – Rochester, NY.

Why Apply?

•  Financial Support – Each awarded participant receives $100K investment to begin the 6-month program with $2M in follow-on funding available at Demo Day.
•  Access  – Rochester, NY is a photonics hub and home to over 150 optics companies integral to the supply chain of the photonics industry.  We work closely with the local eco-system and infrastructure to provide Luminate companies with the needed resources and expertise.
•  World class advisors  –  Our board of advisors and team are a who’s who of the OPI industry.  Our mentors work closely with each team working to help further their business goals.  

Who Should Apply?

•  Companies that have already proven their technologies at least at lab scale.
•  Companies must be incorporated, and have a team of at least two members committed full time.
•  C-level team members able to locate in Rochester for the 6 months to take full advantage of the programs benefits.

Key Program Dates:


  • June  – Application opens
  • September 23  – Application closes
  • October – Applications reviewed and 20 semi-finalists selected
  • November – Lightning Round – 20 teams pitch in Rochester, NY where 10 teams are selected for a $100K investment each and entrance in the 2020 Luminate program


  • January –10 teams begin accelerator program at Luminate incubation space
  • June – Demo Day and the awarding of $2 million in follow-on funding with possible additional investments from corporate and venture partners

Three-month programs aren’t sufficient. Luminate gave us more time, along with the business tools and 1:1 coaching to bring all the pieces together.

$1M Investment from Luminate

Leslie Kimerling

CEO, DoubleHelix

Since joining Luminate, we have raised over $5M in new funding.  The program has been instrumental in our growth.


$500K Investment from Luminate

Niaz Karim

CEO, Intelon Optics

Luminate allowed me to do something more for my business that I couldn’t do myself.


$250K Investment from Luminate

Jason Babcock

CEO, Positive Science

Questions? Check out our FAQ or contact us.