Luminate NY chooses sixth cohort

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Luminate NY has chosen its sixth cohort. Ten companies working on ideas enabled by optics, photonics and imaging will vie for up to $2 million in funding upon completion of the accelerator program.

The companies were selected from 120 applicants. The startups’ pitches were scored by an advisory panel of industry experts. The six-month program, which begins April 17, will help the companies speed the commercialization of their technologies and businesses, officials say. Funding for the $45 million program, which was created and is run by NextCorps, is provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

“Each year, the diversity and quality of companies applying to Luminate continues to improve, demonstrating that the need for this type of programming and financial support transcends technology type and industry category,” says Sujatha Ramanujan, managing director of Luminate NY. “With the integration of optics, photonics, and imaging into so many applications, Luminate NY is able to help founders in a variety of industries strengthen their businesses and commercialization trajectories.”

The sixth cohort is solving challenges within a number of industries, including agtech, augmented/virtual reality, communications, health care, materials science and unmanned vehicles, officials say.

The 10 selected startups are:

AquaRealTime: Protects waterways with a scalable early warning and monitoring system that detects harmful algae blooms and water contaminants 

Digiteyez: Provides eye care on demand with 24/7 access to fast, accurate eye testing, regular vision checks, and connections with eye doctors—from any digital device

NanoPattern Technologies: A patented ink that enables display manufacturers to make high-resolution screens that are more sustainable for smartphones, wearables, and AR/VR applications 

Norcon Technologies: Advanced optical polymer and lensing technology for making 3D depth imagers faster, more accurate, and less expensive

Oculi: Faster and more efficient computer vision by embedding intelligence in the sensor, starting at the pixel

Photonect Interconnect Solutions: A laser adhesion technique to attach optical fibers to photonic chips that is 10 times faster, less expensive, and more efficient than conventional glue methods

PlanOpSim: Helps R&D teams solve complicated design and integration problems by providing a single workflow design software for planar and meta-optics

QART Medical: Novel information to clinicians selecting sperm cells to use in IVF procedures, allowing evidence-based decisions centered on empirical data

Quantune Technologies: First chip-sized laser spectrometer for the mid-infrared spectral range—the “molecular fingerprint region”—to market to allow continuous, non-invasive monitoring of molecular biomarkers such as glucose on the wrist (with lab-grade quality) 

Swave Photonics: Addresses current AR/VR limitations by developing the world’s first spatial light modulator for digital holography

This year’s cohort includes two companies—Oculi and Swave—that will participate in Luminate and Silicon Catalyst programming concurrently. Last November Luminate announced a partnership with Silicon Catalyst, an incubator focused on accelerating semiconductor solutions.

Two other companies, Archangel Imaging and Labby, will participate in Luminate out of the finalist structure to gain access to regional resources. Archangel is the 2022 Grand Prize winner of the Genius NY competition. It deploys smart machines alongside people to protect remote assets and at-risk staff.

Labby, a $250,000 winner at the 2022 Grow NY contest, provides dairy farms with rapid, accurate, and affordable solutions that leverage AI-enabled optical sensing for raw milk testing in less than a minute.

So far, Luminate has invested $15 million in 53 startups, officials say. The companies in the portfolio have raised an additional $194.7 million and now share a net worth of $645.7 million.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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