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 business development experts and investors.
The 2024 Startup Challenge submission portal is now open!
Applications due 16 October
The competition focuses on new businesses and potential startups. Students, post-docs, professors, and other first-time business starters are encouraged to apply. SPIE Startup Challenge accepts applications within two areas of focus from the worldwide community of entrepreneurs.
Scientific or engineering innovation (software apps not included)
All Startup Challenge applicants receive expert feedback on their technology and business model from photonics industry leaders based on their answers in the application. Finalists go on to compete at Photonics West for cash prizes provided by SPIE Startup Challenge Founding Partner Jenoptik.
Cash prizes for winners:
1st Place - US $10,000
2nd Place - US $5,000
3rd Place - US $2,500
In addition to the cash prizes, winning participants receive immediate and ongoing recognition, including:
Participating teams compete for sponsored prizes as well as gaining increased visibility with potential investors.
Industry leaders, mentors, and investors give their time, share expertise, and ensure startup businesses are on a path to success.
Participants in the competition are connected to other entrepreneurs and previous participants.
Industry leaders at JENOPTIK understand the value of superb innovation. The company's support of SPIE Startup Challenge is unmatched.