Luminate NY, a business accelerator for startup firms in the optics, photonics and imaging industries in Rochester, has received interest from more than 100 applicants worldwide.

Interest in the accelerator program came from within the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Scotland, India, China, Russia, Qatar, Lebanon, and Israel. Funding for the $10 million program is being provided through the Finger Lakes’ Upstate Revitalization Initiative award, and is being administered by High Tech Rochester.

The program’s management team and national advisory board members will narrow the applicant pool down to 20 semi-finalists over the next few weeks, who will all be asked to pitch their startups to the final selection committee in Rochester on Nov. 8th, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said. Of those semi-finalists, 10 will be selected for the program.  Each will ultimately receive an initial investment of $100,000 when they begin the accelerator program in January.

“The number and quality of applicants was very impressive. We have received applications from all over the world as Rochester, NY is so well known in Optics, Photonics, and Imaging,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, managing director of Luminate.

The initiative’s first cohort of 10 companies will launch in January 2018, at the newly renovated Sibley Building in downtown Rochester.  The six-month program will take optics, photonics, and imaging startups and accelerate their commercialization.  At the end of the program, teams will compete on Demo Day, where they will be vying for over $2 million in follow-on funding.

The Luminate NY initiative is focused on attracting and growing the most promising optics and photonics companies from across the state, the nation, and around the globe. The program will support entrepreneurs who are interested in solving challenging optics, photonics and imaging problems, including but not limited to: machine vision, inspection, biophotonics, security, surveillance, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles.