Panel Discussion: Investing Early in Innovative Future Businesses

Monday Sept. 14 at 11:05-11:30 am
What emerging innovations have potential and which industry trends are pointing the way? Hear from Luminate’s distinguished advisory board on what types of investments are being made today and how they will help shape what’s to come for those working in optics, photonics, and imaging. Find out what investors are looking for, how to tap mentors and capitalize on your ideas, how to work with universities and partners, and the ways you can protect your intellectual property (IP).
The panelists have very different professional and personal backgrounds, have an international focus, and have made impressive contributions t their fields. If you’re a researcher, a professional working on new technologies, or an entrepreneur launching or growing a business, you won’t want to miss this event.

What emerging innovations have potential and which industry trends are pointing the way?

Post-Event Breakout: Applying to the Luminate Accelerator

Monday Sept. 14 at 12:05-12:30 am
Solving problems in biophotonics, augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, machine vision, and other related fields requires specific skills — and so does starting a business. Luminate helps you do both by providing comprehensive support, including:
  • A significant investment at acceptance, plus a chance to compete for up to $2 million in follow-on funding
  • Access to investors, mentors, and the global OPI ecosystem for additional capital and support
  • A peer-learning environment and robust curriculum to help you scale your business
Join this session to learn about the process of applying to Luminate and to get your questions answered. This session is perfect for:
  • Entrepreneurs who have an OPI startup at the early-stage to Series A funding phase
  • Scientists and engineers who are looking to move their technology from the lab to the market
  • Teams that need resources for the design, fabrication, and manufacturing of technologies

There’s a reason why Rochester produces the most patents in OPI related technologies.

Sujatha Ramanujan, PhD

Managing Director


Sujatha Ramanujan is serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with 25 years of experience in Clinical Devices and in Consumer Electronics. Sujatha has started, built and grown three startup businesses in cardiac surgical equipment, optical communications and nano materials. In addition, as CTO and Product Line Manager of Mammography CAD and Pediatric Businesses within Kodak and Carestream, her team developed and launched clinical equipment and Clinical IT on every continent. Sujatha has held scientific, technical leadership, and laboratory head positions in Chrysler Corporation, GE, Kodak, Carestream, and Intrinsiq Materials. She holds 28 issued US patents. As a corporate investor for Kodak, then later working with regional investment councils, she provides guidance to start-ups, M& A strategies for growing businesses and vetting of technologies to investors. She has served on investment advisories in US, Canada, and Israel. Dr. Ramanujan holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is an Executive Board Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Dr. Milton Chang, PhD

Dr. Milton Chang, PhD

Managing Partner, Incubic Management and Luminate Advisory Board Member

Milton Chang is the author of Toward Entrepreneurship and managing partner of Incubic Management ( He was president of Newport and New Focus, which he took public. And the companies he incubated resulted in six IPOs and seven acquisitions. The companies he current works with include Aurrion (acquired by Juniper Networks), MBio Diagnostics, YesVideo, and Protein Fluidics. He is a Trustee of the California Institute of Technology and has recently served on the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies. He also served on the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology for NIST and the authoring committee of the National Academies’ Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation. He writes a business and management column for Laser Focus World. Dr. Chang earned his BS engineering degree with highest honors from the University of Illinois and PhD from the California Institute of Technology, and received Distinguished Alumni awards from both U of I and Caltech. He also attended the Harvard Owner/President Management Program (OPM) and was a member of the (YPO). He is a fellow of the IEEE, the OSA, and the Laser Institute of America, and is past president of IEEE Photonics Society and the Laser Institute of America.

Linda Smith, ASA

President, CERES Technology Advisors, Inc. and Luminate Advisory Board Member

Linda has more than 25 years of experience in merger & acquisition advisory, product management, sales and engineering. She founded CERES in 2005 to serve photonics technology companies that were underserved by generalist investment banks and business brokerages. At CERES, Linda sources and leads buy and sell side M & A advisory engagements with clients spanning a full spectrum of photonics enabled markets — from multi-billion-dollar corporations and private equity firms to entrepreneur-operated privately held companies. Linda is an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), specializing in the valuation of businesses with core photonics technology. Linda’s market experience, prior to CERES, crosses optical components and lasers, clinical and analytical instrumentation, medical devices, telecommunications, and semiconductor equipment. She held senior marketing and sales management positions at market leaders, Thermo Fisher Scientific/Newport/Spectra Physics, and QIOPTIQ/LINOS/Excelitas. She also held executive product marketing positions at venture capital funded companies commercializing integrated optics and MEMS technologies. Linda is a member of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning WomenTM. She is a recognized leader in the photonics community. As Fellow of SPIE, the International Society of Optics and Photonics, she serves on its Financial Advisory Committee, chaired technical conferences in biophotonics and is frequent lecturer in technology entrepreneurship. She holds a B.S. in Optics from University of Rochester and M.B.A. from Babson College.
Don Golini

Don Golini

Don Golini, Founder, SANICA Ventures; Chairman of the Board, Luminate

Don Golini is a successful entrepreneur with extensive experience in the development, management, and commercialization of new technologies. As president and founder of QED Technologies, Don licensed a university technology and developed products that succeeded in global markets. QED was acquired in 2006 by Cabot Microelectronics and Golini stayed on as president until 2010. Previously, Golini managed the research program at the Center for Optics Manufacturing at the University of Rochester (U of R), and worked on large optics manufacturing and R&D at Itek Optical Systems in Lexington, Mass. Don served as an adjunct professor at the Simon School of Business, on the Hajim School Dean’s Visiting Committee, and the executive committee for the U of R Technology Development Fund. He was chairman of the Rochester Angel Network, worked as an EIR at High Tech of Rochester, and continues to advise a number of companies. A former president of the OSA Rochester chapter and named on 7 U.S. patents, Golini now resides on the New Hampshire seacoast, serves as a catalyst for MIT’s Deshpande Center and is passionate about startups and entrepreneurship. He is an OSA Fellow, received his B.S. in Optics from the University of Rochester and M.S. in Electro-Optics from Tufts University.
Darius Sankey, PhD

Darius Sankey, PhD

Dr. Darius Sankey, PhD, Managing Director, Innovation Acceleration Capital

Dr. N. Darius Sankey is CEO of 3Discovered, and a seasoned executive in the venture capital and technology industries. Dr. Sankey is also currently a founder and Managing Director of Innovation Acceleration Capital Partners. Darius has served as a Managing Director at Sway Ventures, and Ocean Tomo, leading their Innovation Management Practice. Before his work with Ocean Tomo, Darius served as a Senior Director of Portfolio Management at Intellectual Ventures, a Managing Director at DFJ – Zone Ventures, and has served as a board member for several companies including Unium, 3Discovered, Siimpel Corporation and Neven Vision (acquired by Google). He has worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, Inc. and held strategic planning, consulting, and R&D positions at RAND and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Darius holds a Ph.D. in Optical Engineering from the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester and a B.S. in Physics and Electrical Engineering from MIT. He is also an adjunct professor at the Rady School of Business at the University of California, at San Diego (UCSD).
Andrew Simon

Andrew Simon

Director of Operations, Luminate NY

As Director of Operations, Andrew oversees curriculum and recruitment for the Luminate NY Accelerator at NextCorps. Andy has an extensive background in startups and the digital space, including: founder of Dogways Inc., a venture-backed mobile app startup; President of Toontrack Music USA, launching the Swedish music software firm in the U.S. and leading it to #1 in the world in sales; XLN Audio of Sweden, leading them to 15x sales growth; Brixy Inc., a 150+ baby store association, launching its digital platform; Brannland Cider of Sweden, launching the brand in the U.S. in 2017; and supporting Andrea Arden, celebrity pet trainer, on numerous digital and and business projects. Andy is also an accomplished musician, having written and produced songs for major label artists worldwide, including a #1 single in 2013 for Hey! Say! JUMP of Japan.