German company wins top Luminate award

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

Lidrotec, which created a US entity last week, is the winner of the fifth round of Luminate NY. The Bochum, Germany-based company will receive a $1 million investment from New York.

It was one of 10 startups that competed for a total of $2 million in prize money at the Luminate Finals held at the Optica Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science conference in Rochester.

Lidotec has a patent pending wafer cutting laser technology for the semiconductor industry. According to officials, the technology enables finer cuts with a virtually 0% damage rate, resulting in cost savings and increased productivity. As the United States strives to better manage chip supply, companies like Lidrotec can play an important role.

“Luminate provided us with a new network in the United States, as well as contacts with suppliers and customers,” explains Alexander Igelmann, CEO of Lidrotec. “These vital connections will help us achieve our development milestones over the next two years, including the market validation of our new laser technology.

A semiconductor tooling company, Lidrotec’s innovation lies in the use of liquids in the laser processing area. Without altering the production process, these liquids cool and rinse the waafters while the lasers cut the chips. As a result, finer cuts with high precision are possible without damaging the materials. Higher processing speeds and clean, debris-free surfaces are further benefits.

Lidrotec, which won the company of the year award, was introduced to AIM Photonics through the accelerator program. The collaboration will help the young company build infrastructure for the next iteration of its technology and establish operations in the United States.

“The Luminate NY Accelerator gives our city a huge economic boost and expands Rochester’s already dense network of groundbreaking innovators in optics, photonics and imaging. We are thrilled to host the Luminate Finals and wholeheartedly welcome Lidrotec to the area,” said Rochester Mayor Malik Evans.

Another Germany-based company, Custom Surgical, received the Outstanding Graduate Award and $500,000 in follow-on investment. It also received the $10,000 People’s Choice Award. Custom Surgical’s technology makes it possible to record, store and share medical images and use them to diagnose and treat patients.

Alertgy of Melbourne, Florida won the Distinguished Graduate Award and $250,000 for its technology, which provides diabetics and prediabetics with a way to noninvasively monitor their blood sugar on demand.

MeetOptics from Spain and Scout from Virginia tied for the Honorable Achievement win. Each company received $125,000. MeetOptics works on an artificial intelligence-based platform that helps engineers and researchers in optics and photonics to access and compare manufacturers’ products and technologies online. Scout provides alternatives to the terrestrial sensing paradigm with in-orbit imaging systems and autonomy software for automated detection, tracking and characterization of space objects and orbital debris.

So far, Luminate NY has invested $15 million in 54 startups. His portfolio companies share a net worth of more than $400 million, according to officials. These companies establish operations in the United States or manage some aspect of research and manufacturing in the Rochester area, creating

150 jobs (100 full-time positions and 20 contract positions). 120 additional positions are expected.

Last year’s winner, PreAct Technologies, is expected to create 60 jobs. The company has undertaken to set up its high-tech pilot production there.

“This accelerator provides the essential support that start-up companies need to commercialize their technologies and grow their businesses in US and global markets,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, CEO of Luminate NY.

The program is accepting its sixth cohort until January 9, 2023.

Smriti Jacob is editor of Rochester Beacon. The Beacon welcomes feedback from readers who adhere to our comment policy including the use of their full real name.

James R. Rhodes