Oregon company wins top Luminate prize

Portland, Oregon-based PreAct Technologies has received the Company of the Year award at Luminate Finals 2021.

The event was held virtually and was sponsored by Optica, formerly the Optical Society. PreAct 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 Rochester for at least the next 18 months. PreAct Technologies plans to establish manufacturing in New York state.

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

“Luminate NY’s investments reflect our commitment to retaining New York’s distinction as a worldwide leader in optics, photonics, and imaging,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “Our state is a national leader in the nation for commercializing intellectual property in OPI, and these winning companies will further contribute to the growth of the Finger Lakes’ OPI industry and move the region’s economy forward.”

PreAct Technologies aims to bridge the gap between collision avoidance systems and active safety technology. Its TrueSense sensors make it possible to angle car seats away, deploy airbags earlier and raise the car suspension just before a crash occurs to vastly reduce injuries and deaths, officials noted. The system also will quickly replace all short-range sensors like radar, ultrasound and cameras — a $30 billion per year market — used for ADAS, self-driving and convenience features.

“Luminate exposed us to the benefits of setting up shop in New York, on top of helping us recruit very specific optics and photonics engineering talent, find local companies that could produce our unique cameras and also helped us refine our business operations across the board. I can’t imagine a better accelerator program,” PreAct Technologies CEO Paul Drysch said.

Princeton, N.J.-based Andluca Technologies was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award and $400,000 in follow-on investment. Its wireless smart glass system — which uses transparent solar technology to selectively and efficiently convert ultraviolet (UV) light to electricity — can reduce building energy use by up to 40 percent while significantly enhancing occupant comfort and productivity.

Two Massachusetts companies, Mesodyne and DynoCardia secured the Distinguished Graduate Awards and $250,000 each. Mesodyne is developing a new kind of power generator that converts fuel to electricity via light. The generator is silent with no moving parts, operates on any fuel and has 10-times the energy density of lithium ion batteries. DynoCardia’s ViTrack is the first cuff-less, wrist-wearable technology to offer direct, beat-to-beat measurement of blood pressure with the accuracy of intra-arterial lines.

Honorable Achievement and $200,000 in funding went to Rochester’s Owl Autonomous Imaging. Its patented 3D Thermal Ranger provides HD thermal imaging with precision ranging, representing a 200-times improvement in resolution and cloud density over LiDAR.

The more than 500 attendees at Thursday’s virtual event had an opportunity to vote for their favorite company. The Audience Choice award for $10,000 went to Layer Metrics Inc. Layer Metrics is enabling reliable metal additive manufacturing by certifying part integrity, layer-by-layer, during the build.

“Luminate NY is bringing companies from around the world to the Finger Lakes Region so that they can tap into the rich resources we have available to further their businesses and technologies,” said Luminate Managing Director Sujatha Ramanujan. “This ecosystem supports their desire to establish a U.S. presence and their goal of becoming global players in the industries they serve.”

The Luminate NY accelerator is based in Rochester and selects 10 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 5 through Jan. 10, 2022.

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