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Cuomo announces $10 million photonics competition

Cuomo announces $10 million photonics competition

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the state will establish a $10 million, multiyear Photonics Venture Challenge in Rochester.

The business competition will aim to support startups that commercialize technologies through a business accelerator program and a top award of $1 million to the most promising startup. There are currently no accelerator programs in the world with a photonics focus, the governor said.
“Rochester has quickly become a leader in innovative manufacturing and now is the time to build on that momentum to ensure sustained economic growth for the entire region," Cuomo said.

The challenge is modeled after Western New York’s 43North, a $5 million startup competition funded by Buffalo Billion initiative.

Ten to 15 startups are to be selected for the program through an annual competitive application process, each receiving an initial investment ranging from $100,000 to $125,000 in exchange for equity. Selections for the first round are to be made by this fall.

Participants will go through structured accelerator program. The program will provide work space in the Rochester region, access to regional assets, resources, labs and connections to mentors and industry partners, officials said. The three most promising startups will compete for additional “best in class” funding investments: $1 million for first prize and $500,000 for second and third prizes.
Award winners must reside and operate in the Rochester region for at least one year following their award.
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