Luminate NY, a new photonics competition, gets underway in Rochester

Jul 5, 2017

A program designed to grow the local photonics industry is getting a new name as it officially launches in Rochester. 

It started the year as the Photonics Venture Challenge, when Governor Andrew Cuomo first announced it earlier this year. But now the competition, funded by $10 million through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, has been re-named Luminate NY.

The competition encourages optics, imaging and photonics companies from around the country who have entrepreneurial ideas.

The program is being administered by High Tech Rochester, and its president, Jim Senall, says eventually this program will pay off in boosting the local photonics industry and the area’s economy. 

“We will have a number of companies from our region since we’re so strong in optics and imaging that will apply and likely get admitted. But it’s also to encourage and import some of the highest potential start-up companies from around the country to locate here in Rochester and build their companies here,” Senall told WXXI News.

Luminate New York will see start-up photonics companies compete to get in the program, and if they get in they will be eligible for funding with the best teams sharing an even larger pool of money down the road.

Winners of the larger investments will have to agree to keep their businesses in Rochester for at least a year. Many of them are expected to locate with High Tech Rochester in the Sibley Building.