Two companies at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Venture Creations incubator were selected to compete for the $1 million grand prize in the New York state-funded Luminate NY accelerator program.
The companies, Positive Science and Molecular Glasses, will join eight others for a six-month accelerator program at High Tech Rochester’s incubator space in downtown Rochester. Each of the 10 companies also received $100,000 for advancing to the finals. In June, the companies will vie for a top prize of $1 million. An additional $1 million will be distributed among the remaining nine companies. Luminate NY, an optics, photonics and imaging accelerator program, is funded by Empire State Development.
Positive Science, founded in 2006 by RIT alumnus Jason Babcock, is an eye-tracking system that can be used by clients for a variety of projects. Hardware systems are customizable to allow researchers to explore applications in all areas of eye tracking; software provides an eye-tracking solution for the Mac OS platform that uses intuitive calibration and custom graphics. The company also provides post-capture reviews and comprehensive training.
To date, Positive Science products have been used by several clients including RIT, New York University, University of Rochester, Duke University and Nottingham University-Malaysia Campus, among others. Positive Science joined Venture Creations in 2016.
Babcock said Positive Science was formed during his time as an RIT student, with the hardware and software developed and vetted in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science.
“After 10 years of running the company in New York City, we could have moved anywhere, but we ultimately picked Rochester with the intention of scaling the business and continuing to strengthen our relationship with RIT. RIT’s Venture Creations incubator has provided amazing support, strategy and advice,” said Babcock. “We have been successful because of their leadership. I also want to say thanks to our friends at FluxData, another successful Venture Creations company. Pano Spiliotis and Tim Hattenberger, both RIT alumni, gave us valuable feedback and we hope to glean some insight into their success so we can follow in their footsteps.“
Molecular Glasses, founded by Mike Molaire, focuses on technology that converts materials to noncrystallizable and soluble molecular glasses — without affecting their original photo physical properties — for stable and long-lived organic light-emitting diodes and other organic electronics. The materials will be used to manufacture organic light emitting diode, or OLED, displays on devices such as cell phones and flat-screen televisions, according to Molaire.
Venture Creations was created in 2003 to provide services to incubating companies, facilitating the development and operation of these companies for the purpose of advancing the educational and research missions of RIT through the enhancement of faculty, student and staff involvement in high technology. It was also created to promote economic development and competitiveness in Monroe County and New York state by encouraging and facilitating the transfer of technology resources to the marketplace. Thirty-eight companies have graduated from the incubator and together have created 454 jobs.