What’s Next in Tech? See it at Luminate Finals 2022


Ten startups are in the running for $2 million at Luminate Finals 2022. These innovators are transforming what’s possible in a host of industries — from a better way to manage diabetes to a clearer picture of traffic in space. Attend Finals free — in person or virtually — to see the emerging technologies from the startups of Luminate’s cohort 5, vote for your favorite team, and find out who takes home big funding. Everyone is welcome but seats are limited, so register now!

Luminate Finals 2022Thank you to Optica for sponsoring Luminate Finals for the third year in a row, this year as part of Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science (FiO LS). We’re looking forward to an exciting event, including hearing from keynote Michal Lipson, renowned physicist and MacArthur Fellow for her contributions to silicon photonics.

Help a Company Win $10,000

During Luminate Finals, you’ll have the chance to vote live for your favorite startup team and help them take home the Audience Choice Award, plus $10,000 cash. Here’s a look at the startups:

CEO: Marc Rippen
Hometown: Melbourne, FL

Alertgy gives diabetics and the world’s 2 billion pre-diabetics a way to non-invasively monitor their blood glucose levels on demand, providing trending information and automatic alerts if levels are too low or high. Alertgy’s patented wristband platform eliminates the need for intrusive measurement techniques like implanted sensors, patches, or devices that use chemical reactions or fluid transfer through the skin.

Axion Technologies LLC
CEO: Carol Scarlett, PhD
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Axion Technologies develops Quantum Random Number Generators (QRNG) and optical splitters/multiplexers. Its patented technique for scrambling light provides quantum random numbers for use in numerous computing applications, including encryption and data simulation. These applications protect data and expand the usefulness of simulations for more secure networking.

Custom Surgical
CEO: Federico Acosta
Hometown: Munich, Germany

Custom Surgical is modernizing ophthalmology by providing an effective way to record, store, and analyze medical procedures and leverage them to diagnose and treat patients. Its optical system, the MicroREC, allows ophthalmologists to connect any smartphone camera to the optical path of their microscopes, while its data management platform allows them to easily store and share their videos and images on the cloud.

CEO: Alexander Igelmann
Hometown: Bochum, Germany

LIDROTEC’s wafer-dicing laser technology enables thinner cuts with a virtually 0% damage rate, providing significant cost savings and productivity increases to the semiconductor industry. Its innovation is in the efficient use of liquids in the laser processing zone, which cool and rinse wafers while the laser cuts out the chips.

LightSpeed Photonics
CEO: Rohin Yeluripati, PhD
Hometown: Singapore

LightSpeed Photonics is addressing the need for increased real-time processing of data bandwidth-intensive applications like video streaming, cybersecurity, and smartNICs (Network Interface Cards). Its modular processors for data centers and edge cloudlets are scalable, field programmable units, so customers can use them for multiple applications simultaneously.

CEO: Bárbara Buades, PhD
Hometown: Barcelona, Spain

MEETOPTICS is building an AI-driven platform that helps engineers and researchers in the optics and photonics industry access and compare products from trusted manufacturers. With MEETOPTICS’ comprehensive database, users can quickly discover specialized suppliers and available products in minutes instead of weeks, while manufacturers have a direct channel to customers and can showcase up-to-date capabilities at the moment of purchase.

QD Solar Inc.
CEO: Daniel Shea
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

QD Solar combines two light-absorbing nanomaterials — perovskite and quantum dots — in a tandem cell architecture to take solar beyond efficiencies achievable using silicon solar cells. It offers a roll-to-roll solar sheet that is low cost, flexible, durable, and lightweight, and that can be easily integrated into existing solar panel manufacturing supply chains.

CEO: Mirella Koleva, PhD
Hometown: Guilford, United Kingdom

Quantopticon is revolutionizing the design process in the emerging quantum technology industry. Its modeling software, Quantillion, eliminates the need to carry out multiple-iteration trial-and-error prototyping, supporting the rapid, cost-effective development of high-quality, peak-performing quantum-photonic devices. By ensuring right-first-time, optimized device designs, Quantopticon is unlocking the pathway to rapid, high-yield, low-cost manufacturing of quantum-photonic systems.

CEO: Eric Ingram
Hometown: Alexandria, VA

SCOUT is changing space operations with its vision-based autonomy solutions that let systems better identify and avoid risks and failures. Space traffic will grow 40x this decade, and understanding the congested orbital environment is key for space safety and mission assurance. SCOUT provides on-orbit imaging systems and autonomy software for automated detection, tracking, and characterization of space objects and orbital debris.

Stratio, Inc.
CEO: James (Jae-Hyung) Lee
Hometown: San Jose, CA

Stratio offers infrared imaging solutions for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), medical imaging, precision farming, laser material processing, and food/plastic sorting. Stratio’s BeyonSense® is the world’s first smartphone-compatible shortwave infrared (SWIR) camera, designed to be 5x lighter and 20x cheaper than technology currently on the market, at 10x less power consumption.

Could Your Company Be Next?

Applications Now OpenIf you’re working on technology that uses optics, photonics, or imaging, you could be a fit for Luminate. Applications are now open for cohort 6. Attend a free info session to learn more, or apply today.

Cohort 5 in the News

Cohort 5 RBJ profilesThe Rochester Business Journal’s series on cohort 5 continues with spotlights on Stratio, Inc.; LightSpeed Photonics; Alertgy; QD Solar; and our non-competing program participant, EmGenisys.

These startup companies are tackling challenges in infrared imaging, bandwidth-intensive applications, diabetes management, clean energy, and livestock reproduction:

Portfolio Updates

A quantum leap forward. Qunnect raised $8M in a Series A funding round led by Airbus Ventures. The funds will be used to further develop Qunnect’s product suite, scale manufacturing, and launch a multi-node R&D quantum network testbed to demonstrate entanglement distribution protocols, the first network of its kind in the U.S.

Out of this world. Circle Optics has been selected by SpaceWERX for a STTR Phase I in the amount of $250K to investigate how its Hydra 2 might enable In-space Service Assembly and Manufacturing (ISAM) capabilities, which are being explored by the Department of the Air Force (DAF) and the United States Space Force (USSF) through the Orbital Prime program.

Scoring gold while making roads safer. Owl Autonomous Imaging took home Hardware Development of the Year at AutoSens 2022, which celebrates those working at the cutting-edge of innovation in ADAS and autonomous vehicles. Owl followed up the win with another victory at the Plug and Play Pitch Competition, hosted on the AutoMobili-D stage at the Detroit Auto Show.

Disrupting the near-field sensing industry. PreAct Technologies has been named a TechCrunch Startup Battlefield company and will be one of only 200 startups exhibiting at Disrupt 2022. PreAct was also recently featured in Automotive World for its near-field LiDAR solution, followed up by an interview in Just Auto with PreAct’s CEO, Paul Drysch.

Advancing agricultural innovation. EmGenisys is one of ten semi-finalists in the 2023 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. In early January 2023, they’ll vie for a spot in the final round, where four finalist teams will compete for top titles and prizes.

VPIphotonics Chooses Rochester

VPIphotonics podcastDesign software specialists VPIphotonics of Berlin, Germany recently relocated its U.S. office from Boston to Rochester. Chris Maloney, Managing Director of the firm’s U.S. operations, sits down with Luminate’s Managing Director, Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, to talk about the reasons behind the move, what it means for the regional photonics ecosystem, and his advice for technology startups. Listen here.

Free VPIphotonics Workshop at NextCorps During FiO LS

VPIphotonics is offering a free workshop on Thursday, October 20 at NextCorps, just a short walk from Optica’s FiO LS. Learn how to automate the design of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and simulate high-speed optical transmission systems using VPIphotonics Design Suite. This workshop includes software access and a 4-hour in-person session of lectures, guided labs, and independent work with 1-on-1 support. Registration is limited to 30 seats, so reserve your seat today.

Optica End-User Workshop at FiO

Forging New Connections and Potential Partnerships Between Leading Companies and Smaller Businesses

If you’re a small- to medium-sized business located in the Finger Lakes or New York State and you’re headed to FiO LS, don’t miss the Optica End-User Workshop, happening right after Luminate Finals on October 19. At the event, leading companies will share what they need from innovative photonics companies and encourage real business conversations to benefit everyone involved. 

Participation in this networking event is free of charge, but you must RSVP. Please register here. Don’t forget to bring your business cards!

See You Next Month!