Now Hiring: Managing Director, Photonics Venture Challenge

Position Description
Managing Director, Photonics Venture Challenge

HTR Overview
High Tech Rochester is a 14-person non-profit that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow successful startups and established companies grow their revenues and profitability.  HTR manages a number of different programs including early stage technology commercialization, business incubators and accelerators, educational boot camps, training programs, and project-based consulting services.

Photonics Venture Challenge Overview
The Photonics Venture Challenge is a new startup accelerator program being launched by HTR with funding from Empire State Development (NY State’s primary economic development agency).  The program was a priority project of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, and was funded as part of the region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative, with an initial 2-year, $10M commitment.  With a focus on startups in the optics, imaging, and photonics sectors, the photonics venture challenge will be run in annual cohorts, with 10-15 startups being selected each year, with each team receiving an initial $100k-150k investment.  Teams would go through an intensive 4-6 month mentor-driven accelerator program which would end in a large Demo Day where up to $2M of additional investment may be awarded.

Position Description
Essential Functions:
The Managing Director will be responsible for all initial program design activities of this new initiative as well as all ongoing day-to-day operations of the program, including:

  • Developing and managing the budget
  • Hiring and managing staff
  • Developing corporate / industry partner relationships
  • Leading all outreach and recruiting efforts
  • Leading the selection process for each annual cohort of selected teams
  • Managing the development of a mentor network
  • Setting up and managing an advisory board and selection/judging committees
  • Developing program’s educational curriculum
  • Reporting as required to Empire State Development

Marginal Functions:
Coordinate Photonics Venture Challenge activities, where appropriate, with other HTR and regional community programs that support startup companies in the optics, imaging and photonics space to maximize leverage of resources and program results.


  • Highest ethical standards
  • Demonstrated leadership capabilities and experience running complex programs/teams
  • A solid understanding of tech commercialization, startup company formation, and early stage angel and venture capital investing
  • P&L responsibility
  • Proven ability to initiate and manage multifaceted sets of relationships, including private and public sectors, academia, inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, etc.
  • Familiarity with Lean Startup type methodology for creating scalable startup companies
  • Proven ability to plan, communicate and execute
  • Good organizational skills, time management, and attention to detail
  • Outstanding writing and communications skills, including public speaking
  • Self-sufficient in Microsoft Office and general computer use


  • Hands on experience running a startup accelerator or business incubation program
  • Experience as a founder or member of early stage technology startup
  • Experience in the optics, imaging, or photonics fields
  • Experience with venture capital types of investments
  • Familiarity with Upstate New York start-up environment and ecosystem


  • High Integrity
  • Resourceful
  • Thoughtful
  • Collaborative


  • Bachelor’s degree required

Physical Requirements

  • Access to an automobile and able to drive

Reports To:  President
Manages:  Multiple direct reports, tbd
Coordinates With:  Managing Director, Finance and Administration

Additional Details

Location:  HTR’s Lennox Tech Enterprise Center / moving to Sibley Building in downtown Rochester in 2017
Compensation:  Salary and Bonus
Work Schedule:  Full time (40 hours)

Important Note
HTR reserves the right to modify, interpret, or apply this position description in any way the company desires. This position description in no way implies that these are the only duties, including essential duties, to be performed by the employee occupying this position. This position description is not an employment contract, implied or otherwise. The employment relationship remains “at-will.”

Qualified employees who, because of a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits a major life activity, require a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of this position should notify their manager.

All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or marital status.

To Apply for this position
Please email your resume and cover note/letter to:, with “Managing Director, Photonics Venture Challenge” in the subject line. All applications are due by June 15, 2017.


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