November 23, 2017

Significant boost for entrepreneurs in photonics

					Accelerator program

In Rochester, New York, the world’s largest accelerator program for start-ups from photonics, imaging and optics has started. Around USD 10 million has been set aside to help start-up teams.

Over 150 photonics companies have established themselves around the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics in the US state of New York. The state is now investing USD 10 million in a new accelerator program for start-ups from photonics, imaging and optics in order to strengthen the cluster in the local area. The High Tech Rochester (HTR) incubator will use the money to provide support for start-up teams from all over the world.

10x USD 100,000 start-up support

Once a year in November, a jury will select 20 semi-finalists from the applications received. These teams will then be invited to Rochester for further talks. Ten of the teams will qualify for the program. They will be given work premises, access to the HTR’s optics and prototyping lab and USD 100,000 accelerator financing. They will also be assisted by mentors and a high-profile advisory board. The “Luminate” program also offers training and advice relating to technological, business management and legal issues.

Winning team will receive USD 1 million

During the six-month accelerator phase, which always begins in January, the start-ups will develop their plans and technologies. A presentation day will then take place in June 2018. The team with the best idea and presentation will receive USD 1 million in follow-up financing. In total, USD 2 million will be awarded that day to the teams that make the biggest impression on the jury.

Existing start-ups with at least two employees from all over the world can apply; however, applications will only be accepted from the middle of 2018 for the forthcoming second round. The organizers emphasize that the HTR incubator is also open to teams that do not receive the millions of dollars at the end.