Save the dates: 25 - 30 January 2025
Industry Event
Startup Challenge Series A/B Fundraising Pitches
31 January 2023 • 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM PST | Moscone Center, Expo Stage, Hall DE (Exhibit Level) 


The finalists are announced! Come hear the pitches of these growth-stage photonics-based startups.
These teams have been selected go on to the live pitch event at Photonics West. Finalists are organized by development stage: One representative from each team will pitch their light-based business and try to convince a panel of investors to get involved and support their company's growth. Unlike the early-stage teams in the Startup Challenge Finals, series A/B fundraising pitches do not compete for a cash prize.


2023 Series A/B Finalists

Comptek Solutions
Comptek Solutions has created a novel passivation technology that boosts the performance of compound semiconductors used in optoelectronics, RF, and power devices.
Category: Deep Tech
Nicslab
Nicslab is a fabless chip company developing electronics and photonics integrated circuits for future optical solutions in data centers, AI, and quantum computing.
Category: Deep Tech
Scantinel Photonics
Scantinel Photonics is developing a groundbreaking FMCW Photonic LiDAR Engine with a range three times higher than current lidar Systems.
Category: Deep Tech
Scinvivo
Scinvivo aims to revolutionize cancer diagnostics and care through an imaging platform that enables real-time imaging of the tissue structure below the surface. Combined with AI, a powerful diagnosis tool is created, and photonics-based localization enables robotic surgery.
Category: Healthcare


MODERATOR

Kristin Holzhey
 
 
Kristin Holzhey
VP SBU Optical Test & Measurement and Managing Director TRIOPTICS GmbH
JENOPTIK
Kristin Holzhey is the Vice President of Jenoptik’s Optical Test & Measurement Strategic Business Unit (including TRIOPTICS and OTTO Vision). She joined Jenoptik in 2007 and has worked in various functions. She has an MBA from University of Aberdeen (UK) and profound experience in optical metrology business and post-merger integrations.


JUDGES

Jason Eichenholz
 
 
Jason Eichenholz
Co-founder and CTO
Luminar Technologies, Inc. (USA)
Jason Eichenholz is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Luminar, a sensing technology company that will become the core platform to enable safe fully autonomous vehicles. As CTO, Eichenholz is responsible for research and development of new products, product roadmap and bringing Luminar’s technology to market.

Greg Hollows
 
 
Greg Hollows
VP of Product Strategy
Edmund Optics (USA)
Greg Hollows is the Vice President of the Imaging Business Unit in Edmund Optics’ Barrington, NJ, USA office. He is responsible for everything pertaining to vision and imaging for EO, including the business plan, strategy, and product marketing.

Shahida Imani
 
 
Shahida Imani
CEO
Chromacity Ltd. (UK)
Shahida Imani was appointed as CEO of Chromacity in August 2018. A Chartered Management Accountant, Shahida has worked for number of high-tech companies such as Optos, Voxar and Odos Imaging bringing expertise in scale up and international expansion.

Michele Nichols
 
 
Michele Nichols
President
Launch Team Inc. (USA)
Michele Nichols is owner and president of Launch Team, Inc. in Rochester, NY. Michele leads a team that helps technology companies compete and grow. Launch Team provides marketing and product launch strategy and execution for high tech, optics, photonics, medical device and services companies looking to grow sales, enter new markets, and create competitive advantage. Michele's team consults with science and engineering-driven companies in the US and internationally and guides in the implementation of those strategies.

Linda Smith
 
 
Linda Smith
President
CERES Technology Advisors, Inc. (USA)
Linda Smith is a recognized leader in M&A advisory. Spanning the spectrum of photonics enabled markets, she advised on acquisitions and financings valued at more than $1.5billion. Prior she held product management, engineering and sales positions at public and private equity financed photonics companies. She founded CERES in 2005 to serve photonics companies underserved by generalist investment bankers. She is Fellow of SPIE, the International Society of Optics and Photonics, and Advisory Board Member of Luminate.
Mark Tolbert
 
 
Mark Tolbert
CEO
TOPTICA Photonics, Inc. (United States)
Through Mark Tolbert’s leadership as CEO, TOPTICA Photonics, Inc. has pushed advances in scientific research and has successfully commercialized cutting edge technology for OEM applications in quantum, biophotonics and materials. TOPTICA received the PRISM award in 2019 for the TOPO, a widely tunable high-power continuous wave OPO laser system. Mark’s passion for the industry has propelled him to develop connections and insights from the photonics community on a global level, and he is focused on continuing to advocate for the industry as an essential enabler of emerging technology. Mark is an active contributor to most quantum initiatives in North America, including DOE and NSF centers and is a stakeholder on the NQI bill.