Last Call for Companies to Apply to the World’s Largest Accelerator for Technologies Enabled by Optics, Photonics, and Imaging

Luminate NY Accepting Applications Until Jan. 8; Companies Receive Immediate Funding and the Chance to Compete for up to $2 Million in Follow-On Investment

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 03, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NextCorps today issued a reminder that there are only five days left to apply for cohort 7 of Luminate NY—the competitive accelerator and investment fund for early-stage companies working on solutions that are enabled by optics, photonics, or imaging (OPI). Application submission is due by 11:59 PM EST on January 8, 2024. Participation in the Rochester, NY based accelerator is mostly remote, with select weeks in person for instructional workshops and pitches to investor groups.

Any startup, regardless of its location or industry, is encouraged to apply if it is developing a new application that leverages some aspect of OPI, such as a cell phone camera for photos and video, machine or computer vision, light, or sensors that can help detect characteristics like location, motion, damage, and facial recognition. Companies accepted into Luminate’s portfolio in the past have been from diverse industries, including autonomous vehicles, augmented reality/virtual reality, climate tech, communications, defense, entertainment, biotech/life sciences, quantum computing, security, and more. Select startups can also have the opportunity to attend Luminate and Silicon Catalyst’s incubator program concurrently. Silicon Catalyst is the only incubator focused on accelerating semiconductor solutions, and pairing the two programs helps foster the technical integration typically needed when innovating in deep tech.

Luminate provides significant support to startups, including an immediate investment of $100,000 upon acceptance, expert mentorship, and access to investors, lab facilities, and comprehensive curriculum. Upon graduation from the six-month program, the companies compete for a portion of $2 million in follow-on funding provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative, with a $1 million investment to the winning team and other investments totaling an additional $1 million. Teams winning follow-on funding must commit to doing some aspect of their business operations or manufacturing in the region for at least 18 months.

“One of the biggest benefits of Luminate is that it’s essentially a rapid MBA program for tech-oriented teams. In addition to getting deep tech expertise to further our product development, you graduate knowing how to run a business well,” said Jan Kischkat, cofounder and CEO of Quantune Technologies GmbH (Luminate cohort 6 member). “We left with a clear understanding of the value we bring to potential customers, how to reach them, how to set up our sales organization, and how to strategize for growth going forward, including what we need to actually enter the US market and establish a portion of our manufacturing here.”

The customized curriculum provided by Luminate guides startups through actionable business planning that is focused on commercializing and scaling their businesses. Members also benefit from working alongside peer OPI startups in the program, leveraging best practices, and helping each other toward success.

Startups applying to Luminate NY must be incorporated, have at least two people working full time on the business, and should have proven their core technology, preferably having developed a working prototype. Luminate will select a total of 10 to 12 companies from the applicant pool for cohort 7, which begins April 8, 2024 and concludes on September 25, 2024.

“Most startups working on tech today have a solid technical background, but they lack the strong business framework that’s critical to commercializing their offering and scaling their companies,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD, Managing Director, Luminate NY. “Our accelerator addresses that gap by helping them complete the due diligence essential to setting up a business, as well as by providing the initial funding and introductions to investors and partners who can help them speed their products to market.”

To apply to Luminate, visit

To register for the final informational session about Luminate NY on Jan. 4, visit

For more information about Luminate NY, go to

For additional information about NextCorps, visit

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Shannon Wojcik