Luminate NY to Hold Innovation Finals Competition at OSA’s FiO + LS Conference

OPI Accelerator Program Bringing $2 Million Funding Competition to International Stage

Rochester, New York, UNITED STATES

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Luminate NY, the world's largest accelerator for startups with next-generation optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI) enabled applications, will host its finals competition virtually at The Optical Society’s (OSA) Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science APS/DLS Conference (FiO + LS). This new partnership will allow an international audience to watch ten finalist companies introduce emerging technologies and pitch for up to $2 million in follow-on funding. The audience will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite team.

For the first time, due to COVID-19, OSA—the world’s leading champion for optics and photonics—is offering its annual conference free in an all-virtual, online format. The Luminate Finals will take place on the first day of the conference on September 14, 2020 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM EDT.

Luminate NY, administered through NextCorps, brings visionary entrepreneurs from around the world together with OPI pioneers and qualified investors to speed innovation and time to market. The intensive six-month program provides the mentoring, comprehensive training, capital, and access to a vast OPI network to ensure these early-stage companies are better prepared to run and scale their businesses to serve global markets. 

As a last step before graduating the accelerator, the ten finalist teams* will compete for up to $2 million in follow-on funding from Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

"The OPI trailblazers in our third cohort have worked hard to turn their innovative ideas into executable businesses that will significantly impact many industries, including quantum security, clean energy, free-space communications, agriculture, healthcare, and augmented reality,” said Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate NY. “In collaborating with OSA, we’re opening opportunities for entrepreneurs, researchers, academia, investors, students, businesses, and the general public to witness how these groundbreaking technologies will solve some of today’s complex problems, and to reach out to us if they have ways to partner.”  

To share insight on the importance of funding and supporting the movement of technologies outside of the lab and into real-world applications, Luminate will host a panel discussion during the finals event featuring industry experts from Luminate’s advisory board.

OSA has organized this year’s FiO + LS conference around two themes that leverage the intersection between science and applications—the end result is intended to illustrate the research within the technology. The first theme is Quantum Technologies (in conjunction with the OSA Quantum 2.0 Conference) and the second is Virtual Reality and Augmented Vision.

“Collaborating with Luminate’s world-class program to showcase the finalists and their products in a global forum will inspire others in our community,” said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO, OSA. “The Finals Competition is a model for other programs with a goal of helping entrepreneurs develop and move their technologies to market.”

To learn more about the conference and its 30+ sessions, watch the podcast on YouTube with Sujatha Ramanujan and Claudio Mazzali, Sr. Vice President and CTO of the Corning Optical Communications Sector, Corning, Inc., USA, Optical Society (OSA) Fellow, and Co-Chair of FiO + LS 2020.

Doubling Investments at the Half-Way Mark

Finals 2020 also marks the half-way point of the Luminate accelerator program. In addition to advancing technology, the five-year program also provides an economic engine for upstate New York. Since its inception, the $25 million program has invested $7 million in 30 startups. These companies in the portfolio now share a net worth of $160 million. In addition to providing an estimated 1 ½ to 2 x return on investment, many of the companies are establishing U.S. operations or some aspect of research and manufacturing in the Rochester region—which continues to be the epicenter of the OPI industry in North America.

*Startups pitching at the event include: AkknaTek of Kaiserslautern, Germany; ExPrimary of Rockville, Maryland; Haqean of Bangalore, India; Kilo Medical Solutions of Richmond, Virginia; Nordetect of Copenhagen, Denmark; Rubitection of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; SaNoor Technologies of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Simulated Inanimate Models (SIM) of Rochester, New York; SunDensity of Boston, Massachusetts; and Think Outside of Bergen, Norway.

People can register for Luminate Finals one of two ways: 

  • To register just for Luminate Finals 2020 event, go to Eventbrite
    To register to attend the FiO+LS conference and Luminate Finals 2020, go to
    FiO + LS.

For more information about Luminate NY, see

Media Contact
Shannon Wojcik 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at