June 17, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Applications Are Now Being Accepted For Round III of Luminate NY

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Applications Are Now...

Accelerator Aims to Bring Visionary Optics, Photonics and Imaging Companies and Emerging Technologies to the Finger Lakes Region


Applications Will Be Accepted Through September 23, 2019



Luminate NY is a Key Initiative in "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Luminate NY - the world's largest business accelerator for startup firms in the optics, photonics and imaging industries - is now accepting applications for Round III of the innovative competition. Selected teams will compete for one of ten available slots in the third cohort of companies. The Luminate NY accelerator, located in Rochester, assists promising optics, photonics and imaging companies with advancing their technologies and businesses through the assistance of a six-month mentoring program. Once selected, teams will compete for follow-on funding, including a $1 million top prize; $500,000 second prize; and two $250,000 prizes that will be awarded to two teams. The Luminate NY program is funded by the transformative Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.


"Luminate NY is a globally recognized competition and resource for the most promising new companies in the cutting-edge fields of optics, photonics and imaging," Governor Cuomo said. "This accelerator represents just one of the many strategic industry investments New York is making to foster new business growth and improve job opportunities as we continue working to propel the Finger Lakes economy forward."


"Our business plan competitions have proven to be a catalyst for driving great ideas and job growth across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Luminate NY is part of our strategy to encourage collaboration and provide support to the growing OPI industry in the Finger Lakes region. As we begin a new round, we remain committed to embracing Rochester's spirit of innovation to deliver ambitious plans focused on the future."


Luminate NY, which is administered by NextCorps, is looking for entrepreneurs from around the globe who are interested in solving OPI challenges, including but not limited to: machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance, augmented and virtual reality and autonomous vehicles. The winning teams must commit to remaining in the region for at least 18 months.


Applicants for Luminate NY must be incorporated, have at least two full-time employees and should have proven their core technology, preferably having developed a working prototype. Once admitted, companies will receive assistance, including capital, access to comprehensive lab facilities for technology development, education, and business mentoring. Applications will be accepted now through September 23, 2019.


The recruitment for new OPI-enabled technologies comes just one week before Luminate NY's second cohort of companies competes for $2 million in follow-on funding. The free "Light Tomorrow with Today" Demo Day event will be held on June 27, 2019, at the CGI Big Tent at the Rochester International Jazz Festival. One company will be awarded $1 million, with the additional $1 million to be awarded to three companies based on judges' ratings.


Luminate NY continues to build on the region's historically strong OPI industry sector. Rochester is home to the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics' Test, Assembly and Packaging facility at Eastman Business Park, the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics, the Rochester Institute of Technology and to more than 100 local OPI companies and 17,000 employees who are building on the region's legacy as a global imaging leader.


For more information about Luminate NY, click here.


Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Round three of Luminate NY will continue to bring novel startups and technologies to New York State to advance the OPI industry in the Finger Lakes region, adding to the more than 170 companies that were drawn to this unique business accelerator competition in the competitive first two rounds."


Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate NY said, "The caliber and diversity of the startups participating in Luminate NY is truly impressive, not just for their ability to change industry, but to continue to elevate the benchmark OPI ecosystem that already exists here in the Finger Lakes region."


Senator Joseph Robach said, "Luminate NY was a resounding success during its first two competitions. I cannot wait to see what this year will bring. This annual competition has help solidify the Rochester region as a national leader in innovation and technology, with more success on the horizon. We cannot underestimate the importance of job-creating initiatives like Luminate NY, which brings new ideas and concepts right here to Rochester."


Assembly Member Harry Bronson said, "As our region's economy continues the transition from manufacturing to high-tech industries like optics, photonics and imaging, programs like Luminate NY are vital to ensuring that the next big breakthrough happens in our back yard. Supporting promising new business and enterprises is a worthwhile investment in the Upstate economy, and I applaud Governor Cuomo and the team at Empire State Development for their continued support for our region."


Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, "Luminate NY's ability to repeatedly attract high-quality applications from around the world demonstrates the wisdom of Governor Cuomo's decision to locate this high-tech business accelerator in Rochester and build on our reputation as innovators of industry. Luminate NY gives business leaders a platform to bring their innovative ideas to the marketplace, which accelerates the growth of Rochester's knowledge economy. I remain grateful to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for bringing these 21st century job creators to Rochester through Finger Lakes Forward and helping us achieve our goals of creating more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens."


Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 


Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan—investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.


Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion; and, the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office