Photonics companies compete for $1M prize in Rochester

Local News

It’s a big day for photonics, optics and imaging in Rochester.

Wednesday, ten teams began the six-month, $1 million venture challenge with Luminate New York in the Sibley Building Downtown.

The ten winners of a competition in November and the three runners-up have moved into the space and will work together, learning and growing. The hope is to drive their businesses forward and build in Rochester.

“It’s just exciting to see the companies here because this is what it’s all about,” says ESD Regional Director Vincent Esposito. “They’ve got incredible ideas, incredible products, and incredible potential for Rochester, for their companies and for our future in terms of some of the technologies they have. For me, and for Gov. Cuomo and for the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which included this idea in the ‘Finger Lakes Forward’ plan three years ago, it’s an exciting day for the professional development side of things.”

Six companies in this initial cohort are from Rochester. One comes from as far as Dublin, Ireland. The companies will present to the judges in June in hopes of securing the one million dollars.

“It gives us a chance, not only to work with cohorts that’re in the same sphere of what we’re doing, even though all of our companies are a bit different, but there’s an amazing history of optics in this town and an amazing ecosystem that’s embedded in Rochester which predates all of us,” explains Leslie Kimerling, Double Helix Optics. “So, it’s really a unique opportunity to tap into that history. “

“They’re getting six months of professional services and learning about all the resources and assets Rochester has at its’ disposal,” Esposito tell us. “So, not only will that help them mature as a company, but it further exposes them to Rochester. So, if they win, or even if they don’t win, maybe they’ve recognized the value of being here and can take it in their own path to grow their businesses here in Rochester.”

More information on Luminate is available here.

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