WXXI AM News

Photonics competition heats up

Oct 13, 2017

State and local officials say they are seeing a lot of interest in a state-funded competition designed to help startup companies in the optics, photonics and imaging industries in Rochester.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says that Luminate NY, the name of the competition announced earlier this year, has received interest from more than 100 applicants from around the world.

Managing Director of the program, Sujatha Ramanujan, says that next Tuesday, the list of contenders will be whittled down to 25. They will come to Rochester in early November, and get 2 minutes each to make their pitch to board members and investors.

At the end, 10 finalists will be named and each of them will get $100,000 for their startup companies.  After 6 months, one company will get $1 million.  Another $1 million will be doled out for future needs.

Ramanujan says there are various benefits from this program not only for the companies involved, but for the photonics industry in general in the Rochester area.

“And as the companies come out of this, I think there are a lot more eyes on Rochester from everywhere, recognizing the extreme depth of the technical community here and the businesses that are here,” she told WXXI News.

Funding for the $10 millon program is being  provided through the Finger Lakes Upstate Revitalization Initiative program and it’s being administered by High Tech Rochester.