Luminate NY Announces The Optical Society to Sponsor Finals 2021 Competition

Virtual Event Will Award $2 Million in Follow-On Funding and Feature Panelist Discussion on Women and Diversity in Entrepreneurship

Rochester, UNITED STATES


ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Luminate NY, the world's largest accelerator for startups with optics, photonics, and imaging(OPI) enabled applications, announced today that The Optical Society (OSA) will again sponsor Finals 2021 to bring the competition to an international stage. The free event will be held virtually via Zoom on Sept. 30, 2021 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM EST, and is open to the public. The continued partnership between Luminate and OSA reflects a shared commitment to evolve OPI capabilities and bring the most innovative applications to market across a wide range of industries.

Last year, nearly 1500 people registered to join a worldwide audience as they watched ten companies introduce emerging technologies and pitch for up to $2 million in follow-on funding from Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The audience also had the opportunity to vote for their favorite team in the Audience Choice category, a distinction that comes with $10,000 in funding.

Finals 2021 will feature the same format, as well as bring attention to the unique needs of women and underrepresented entrepreneurs. Renowned experts will add to the advice by providing quick tips for founders on funding, sales, IP, and dealing with venture capitalists and constant pressures.

“There are many gaps that exist today for underserved or underrepresented founders. In 2019, Pitchbook reported that female-founded companies received only 2.7% of the total capital invested in venture-backed businesses in the U.S.,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate. “Luminate Finals provides an international platform to highlight how we can provide better support across a number of areas so that all founders have the same opportunities to fund and scale their companies.

Among the panelists for the Women and Diversity in Entrepreneurship discussion:

  • Susan Houde-Walter runs LaserMax Defense, a manufacturer of laser equipment for military and law enforcement. She was the first female faculty member of the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, and served as president of OSA in 2005.
  • Manjari Chandran-Remesh is a Deep-Tech and Software Venture Investor at IP Group plc., and acts as a non-executive director at several software companies (machine learning, AI, and robotics). In 2020, she was named one of the top 5 investors as part of a broader Top 100 Asian Stars in UK Tech list. She has a PhD from the University of Oxford and is a Rhodes Scholar.
  • Marcia Lesky is the Senior Director for Diversity, Inclusion & Volunteer Cultivation at OSA, where she works to cultivate a diverse and dynamic pool of volunteers and members, and acts as a critical liaison between OSA’s business units, its membership and the broader optics and photonics community. She holds a Masters of Science from John Hopkins University.
  • Leslie Kimmerling is the CEO and co-founder of Double Helix Optics, a 3D computational imaging company commercializing Nobel Prize winning nanoscale precision 3D optics technology and winner of the 2018 Luminate competition. Leslie has extensive experience in launching companies. She holds an MBA with Honors from the Anderson School at UCLA, an MA in Economics from Stanford University, and a BA with Honors in Economics from The University of Pennsylvania.  

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 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. 

“We are excited to participate in Luminate NY’s Finals Competition as a sponsor,” said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. “This is a vital program for the optics and photonics community and a key priority for us.”

Companies in Luminate’s fourth cohort who will pitch at the event include: 2EyesVision, Madrid, Spain; Andluca Technologies, Princeton, NJ; Dynocardia, Inc., Cambridge, MA; Infrascreen SA, Neuchatel, Switzerland; Layer Metrics Inc., Wilmington, DE; Mesodyne, Inc., Somerville, MA; Momentum Optics, Longmont, CO; OSCPs Motion Sensing, Inc., Montreal, Canada; Owl Autonomous Imaging, Rochester, NY; PreAct Technologies, Portland, OR.

To get a ticket to Finals 2021, register on Eventbrite.

For more information about Luminate NY, see www.luminate.org.

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