The SPIE Startup Challenge is held annually at Photonics West. Entrepreneurs apply to the program in October, and a panel of experts review the applications to offer insight into funding options and refinement of business plans. Finalists are selected in December and invited to pitch their light-based technology business plan to a team of business development experts and investors at Photonics West.
More than a simple pitch competition, the SPIE Startup Challenge is an entry point into the community of high-tech business development. Numerous mentors volunteer their time in support of new business ventures.
31 January 2023
Hosted at SPIE Photonics West
The application process is now closed. Join us at Photonics West to hear pitches from finalists and see who wins.
Industry leaders at JENOPTIK understand the value of superb innovation. The company's support of SPIE Startup Challege is unmatched.
All Startup Challenge Applicants receive expert feedback on their technology and business model from photonics industry leaders based on their answers in the application.
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:
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)
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.
|Application submission system opens||15 September 2022|
|Application deadline||20 October 2022|
|Startup Challenge Finalists selected and notified||5 December 2022|
|Series A/B Open Pitch Finalists selected and notified||5 December 2022|
|Feedback from experts is made available||5 December 2022|
|Presentation slides due||25 January 2023|
|Onsite program with winners announced at SPIE Photonics West||31 January 2023|
1st place winner: VitreaLab
VitreaLab’s laser-lit chip is disrupting the 2D and 3D display market.
2nd place winner: Quantopticon
Quantopticon builds simulation software for quantum photonic hardware and devices.
3rd place winner: Luminess
Luminess Detectors, a versatile platform for safer, more sensitive and more reliable X-ray medical imaging.