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German firm awarded $1M as Luminate NY Round 5 winner 

German firm awarded $1M as Luminate NY Round 5 winner 

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Lidrotec is the winner of Round 5 of the Luminate NY optics, photonics and imaging startup accelerator competition.  

Alexander Igelmann, CEO, Lidrotec accepts $1 million as winner of Luminate Finals 22. P
Alexander Igelmann, CEO, Lidrotec accepts $1 million as winner of Luminate Finals 22. (photo credit: Sue Zuecola)

The Bochum, Germany-based firm received the Company of the Year award at Luminate Finals 2022, which was recently held live during Optica’s Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science conference in Rochester.

The company will receive $1 million in investment from New York State through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative. As required by the award, all winners of the competition will commit to establishing operations in the region for at least the next 18 months.  

Through Luminate NY, Lidrotec is collaborating with AIM Photonics, which is helping Lidrotec build the infrastructure for developing the next iteration of its technology. Lidrotec is also finalizing its plans to become a U.S. company.

Luminate NY, which is administered by NextCorps, is the world’s largest business accelerator for emerging companies that have optics, photonics and imaging enabled technologies.  

The finals event marks the completion of the fifth year of the cohort-based program. 

Earlier this year, Gov. Kathy Hochul included funding for Luminate NY in the New York state budget for four more consecutive years. 

“New York is on the cutting edge of technological research, as we continue to welcome great talent and opportunities here through our Luminate NY competition,” Hochul said in a statement. “We are adding another chapter to the Finger Lakes Region’s unparalleled history in imaging and optics by bringing the most promising companies here to speed the commercialization of groundbreaking technologies.” 

Lidrotec’s patent-pending wafer-dicing laser technology for the semiconductor industry enables thinner cuts with a virtually zero percent damage rate, providing significant cost savings and productivity increases.  

Its innovation is in the efficient use of liquids in the laser processing zone, which cool and rinse wafers while the laser cuts out the chips. The resulting benefits include thinner cuts with higher precision, no damages to the material, clean surfaces without debris and higher processing speeds—all without the need to adapt the production process. 

Lidrotec CEO Alexander Igelmann said Luminate provided a new network into the United States, along with contacts to suppliers and clients.  

“These vital connections will help us to meet our development milestones during the next two years, which include market validation for our novel laser technology,” he said. 

In addition, Munich, Germany-based Custom Surgical was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award and $500,000 in follow-on investment. The business also received the $10,000 Audience Choice award.

Custom Surgical is modernizing surgery by providing an effective way to record, store and share medical images and leverage them to diagnose and treat patients.  

Alertgy from Melbourne, Fla. secured the Distinguished Graduate award and $250,000 for its technology, which gives diabetics and the world’s 2 billion pre-diabetics a way to non-invasively monitor their blood glucose levels on demand. 

There was a tie for Honorable Achievement, with MEETOPTICS from Barcelona, Spain and SCOUT from Alexandria, Va. each receiving $125,000.  

MEETOPTICS is building an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven platform that helps engineers and researchers in the optics and photonics industry quickly access and compare products and technologies from trusted manufacturers online.  

SCOUT is providing alternatives to the terrestrial sensing paradigm with on-orbit imaging systems and autonomy software for the automated detection, tracking and characterization of space objects and orbital debris. 

Investments were presented after a panel of judges from the optics, photonics, and imaging industry and venture capitalist community scored the participating companies based on their business pitches and due diligence completed during the six-month accelerator program. 

Since its inception, Luminate NY has invested $15 million in 54 startups. The companies in the portfolio now share a net worth of more than $400 million.  

The Luminate NY accelerator is based in Rochester and selects ten promising companies each year to participate in its six-month program.  

During this time, companies are provided with comprehensive training and resources to advance their technologies and businesses.  

Applications are now being accepted for Round 6 through Jan. 9. For additional information about Luminate NY, go to 

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