SunDensity to locate operations, manufacturing in Rochester

Via Rochester Beacon
September 15, 2020

CEO Nish Sonwalkar is pumped about moving SunDensity’s operations and manufacturing to Rochester. The photonics startup won the top prize—$1 million—and was named Company of the Year at the culminating event for Luminate NY’s third cohort.

The virtual Luminate Finals 2020 took place Sept.14 at the Optical Society’s international Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science APS/DLS conference. More than 1,200 people registered for the event.

SunDensity joins other startups that have participated in the $25 million Luminate NY accelerator program, funded by New York State through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative. Since its inception, the program has invested $7 million in 30 startups. The companies in the portfolio now share a net worth of $160 million, officials say. Many of these companies conduct some aspect of their business in Rochester.

“It’s a turning point for any company, it’s almost like taking an elephant over the hill,” says Sonwalkar, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, who is currently on leave. “I think we’ve reached the hill and hopefully it will all work out. One of the (key) things you need is funding, and this funding from Luminate gives big confidence to other investors to put money in our company. Many Boston investors are very interested in putting additional money in our company now.”

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