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Double Helix Optics wins the Luminate NY competition

Randy Gorbman

A Colorado-based company is the winner of the first round of New York State’s Luminate NY competition.

The announcement was made Thursday at a demonstration event held at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

The competition involves start-up optics, photonics and imaging companies, and Double Helix Optics, which does high precision imaging, incorporating 3-D capabilities, will receive the top prize of one million dollars. The funds come from New York State through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

A requirement of that contest, is that Double Helix Optics will commit to having operations in Rochester for at least the next 18 months.

CEO and Co-Founder Leslie Kimerling says she hopes her company can keep operations in Rochester on an ongoing basis.

“We’re small now, so the idea is , we try to keep our overhead low, but as we grow and if we have a core presence here it would make a lot of sense to have this as an extended office,” Kimerling told WXXI News.

Vinnie Esposito is Regional Director for Empire State Development. He says it makes sense to have this competition based in Rochester.

“We are the home, the international capital of optics, photonics and imaging; we want to expand that reach, so we’re bringing in companies from outside the area to expose them to what Rochester has to offer. And even if they don’t wind up staying here, they’re still going to tape into our expertise and research and our supply chain to benefit the companies and the clusters that we have.”

Another one million dollars was divvied up among three other companies, Intelon Optics Inc. was awarded the second-place prize of $500,000 and the companies Positive Science and Think Biosolution each won $250,000 for their 3rd and 4th place finishes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says that "Strategic investments in OPI (Optics Photonics and Imaging)-enabled technologies continue to bolster the Finger Lakes region's reputation as the imaging capital of the world."

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.