SPIE Startup Challenge at Photonics West

SPIE Startup Challenge is a high-stakes, global competition where entrepreneurs in photonics have just 5 minutes each to pitch their businesses to a team of expert judges, and vie for over $85,000 in cash, prizes, promotion, and more.

The application period for Startup Challenge 2018 is closed.

Semi-Finalists will be announced in early January, 2018.

Learn more about Startup Challenge by revisiting last year's event, our competitors, and winners:

  • Six companies were selected 31 January from 23 semi-finalists to compete in the final round of the Startup Challenge 1 February during SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco.

  • Watch their pitches and learn more about our winners and finalists.

  • Learn more about all of our 2017 Startup Challenge Semi-Finalists.

Startup Challenge Cash, Prizes, and More Apply for the Startup Challenge The Startup Challenge Event at Photonics West
Startup Challenge Judges, Advisors, Instructors Startup Challenge Winners and Finalists Media
Tips and Training for startups Startup Challenge Sponsors Past Startup Challenge Events, Winners, Finalists

The SPIE Startup Challenge is held annually at Photonics West. This competitive event invites new entrepreneurs to pitch their light-based technology business plan to a team of corporate development experts and venture capitalists.

The best pitchers receive cash prizes and are selected to attend a week long entrepreneur boot camp to refine their ideas and make further contacts with experts.

Contact innovation@spie.org with questions or comments.

I didn't win first place in the SPIE Startup Challenge but I received great feedback, learned how to refine my pitch, and met two people who have since become my start up advisors. SPIE is doing a great service!"

- E. Hooman Banaei, Founder and CEO of Everix

Founding Partner


Lead Sponsor

Edmund Optics

Supporting Sponsors

Luminar Technologies