See the Future of Tech at Luminate Finals


One month to go until Luminate Finals 2021 — a chance to see emerging technologies that will change the future of autonomous vehicles, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and other industries. Register to watch the 10 finalists of Luminate cohort 4 compete for up to $2 million in follow-on funding.

We’re proud to partner with The Optical Society once again to reach an international audience with this year’s virtual event. In addition to the tech pitches, Finals 2021 will feature a panel discussion with distinguished women in science and investment, focusing on the need to address gaps that exist today for underserved or underrepresented founders.

Our panelists include:

Finals 2021 isn’t the only opportunity for cohort 4 startups to secure investments. We recently facilitated a week’s-long series of fast-pitch events and introductions to a mix of investors and potential partners, including:

Over the past month, cohort 4 startups also attended training on:

  • Tax considerations from a CPA’s perspective, with Dave Veniskey, CPA, AEP, Partner at EFPR Group
  • “Owning the interview” and other public relations tips, with Holly Barrett, Marketing Director at NextCorps
  • Solving the culture puzzle, with Gerry Pierce, former Wegmans Vice President and now, CEO at HR Works
  • How to develop a modular pitch deck to address different investors, with Luminate’s Managing Director, Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan; and Technology Program Manager, Dr. Damon Diehl

EVENT HIGHLIGHT: Ophthalmology Summit

Luminate Portfolio Companies Connect

OVITZ’s xwave Aberometer
OVITZ’s xwave Aberometer in use

A number of companies in the Luminate portfolio are innovating in ophthalmology, addressing different parts of the continuum of care — from diagnosis to surgery to post-surgical corrections. We recently hosted an Ophthalmology Summit with teams joining in-person and virtually to make connections, identify possible synergies, and discuss opportunities to share resources.

The Summit included team members from:

  • Intelon Optics, from cohort 1. Intelon’s noncontact high-resolution BOSS™ (Brillouin Optical Scanner System) creates three-dimensional “stiffness” maps of the cornea to diagnose weakening in the tissues within and surrounding the cornea and lens, and determine whether a patient is a good candidate for refractive or corneal surgery.
  • OVITZ, the recipient of $1 million in follow-on funding from cohort 2. OVITZ’s xwave Aberometer, coupled with proprietary software, enables ophthalmologists to prescribe customized scleral contact lenses for patients with higher-order visual aberrations that cannot be treated using off-the-shelf contact lenses.
  • Lumedica Vision, from cohort 2. Lumedica’s hand-held OQ Eyescope detects subsurface diseases of the retina, years before symptoms arise, and does so for one-third the cost of large, stationary spectral-domain optical coherence tomography systems.
  • AkknaTek, from cohort 3. AkknaTek’s Lens Reviewer identifies displacement of intraocular lenses (IOLs), post-surgery, enabling ophthalmologists to intervene and realign the lenses before the eye has completely healed.
  • 2EyesVision, from cohort 4. 2EyesVision’s SimVis Gekko enables patients to try different types of multifocal IOLs before committing to surgery.

Interested in visual optics, ophthalmology, and biomedical devices? These five startups will introduce their technologies in a webinar with Photonics Media on October 7. Register to attend.


Owl AI: A Sensor Solution that Sees Everything

“Owl is the only company in the world that can generate accurate depth perception from native 2D thermal imaging using one camera. We call this monocular thermal ranging.”
Chuck Gershman, Co-Founder and CEO

Safe automated vehicle operation requires a 3D perception of the environment. Current sensor suites fall short in low- or no-light conditions and other degraded visual environments like fog or snow, putting pedestrian lives at risk.

Owl AI has created a new sensor modality that uses high-definition 3D thermal imaging with high-precision ranging. Superior to LiDAR and RADAR, Owl’s solution delivers detection, classification, range, and velocity in all environmental conditions. Chuck Gershman, Co-Founder and CEO, shares how Owl is addressing today’s most pressing automotive safety issues while facilitating the future of autonomous vehicles.

Get to know Owl AI.


Paul Drysch PreAct Technologies

The entire Luminate team stepped up and helped us when we said we wanted to open an office in New York.  The support was incredible!”

Paul Drysch, Co-Founder and CEO, PreAct Technologies

The resources and partnerships for us in Rochester represent more than acceleration — we have experienced a step change and a redefining of our scale-up and go-to-market plan.”

Nick Davy, Co-Founder and CEO, Andluca Technologies

Andluca Nick Davy


Next-level brilliance. Circle Optics (cohort 2) is one of five finalists selected for the fifth round of GENIUS NY, rising to the top of more than 600 international submissions. They’ll participate in the year-long program and compete for a total of $3 million in direct investment, with a grand prize of up to $1 million.

A win for enhanced warfighter capabilities. Mesodyne (cohort 4) was awarded a Phase II SBIR from AFWERX to develop and field a JP-8 compatible LightCell™ power generator for austere environments.

Best of the bunch. Nordetect (cohort 3) made The Startup Pill’s list of 12 best Denmark agtech startups.

All aboard! One Silicon Chip Photonics (OSCP; cohort 4) is teaming up with Thales to help shape the future of autonomous rail technology.

#StartupsEverywhere. Rubitection (cohort 3) CEO, Dr. Sanna Gaspard, was profiled in Engine’s ongoing series highlighting startup leaders.


Spotlight on Organic Robotics Corporation: Measuring Muscle Activity at the Speed of Light

For professional athletes, every move matters. And for those training to reach the pro level, more information can help them achieve their goals. Organic Robotic Corporation (cohort 2) developed wearable Light Lace™ sensors that offer real-time biomechanical analysis on the field, giving athletes and their trainers data on muscle movement, joint angles, respiration, and more. Watch the video interview with ORC’s co-founders, Ilayda Samilgil and Dr. Rob Shepherd.

Spotlight on Owl AI: Unlocking Safe Autonomous Operation

To make a vehicle safer, perception systems need to be able to emulate what we do as humans — not only see but identify and classify objects, and estimate where they are and where they’re going. Owl AI (cohort 4) is improving the perception of sensors used in autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles for safer operation. Watch the video interview with Owl’s Co-Founder and CEO, Chuck Gershman.

Spotlight on PreAct Technologies: Saving Lives with Car Crash Prevention

Today’s automotive safety systems are designed to either avoid or respond to collisions. PreAct Technologies (cohort 4) is focused on detecting car crashes before they happen, enabling various safety measures to engage in a matter of milliseconds to prevent serious injuries and deaths. Watch the video interview with PreAct’s Co-Founder and CEO, Paul Drysch.

See You Next Month!