The Moscone Center
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2 - 7 February 2019
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Startup Pitch Clinic at Photonics West

Fazim Samadani of NSF presents at SPIE pitch clinic

Fazim Samadani of National Science Foundation presents at SPIE Startup Pitch Clinic

On Monday morning, the SPIE Startup Challenge invited semi-finalists, judges, and venture capitalists to the Startup Pitch Clinic at the Park Central hotel. Led by startup expert, Fazim Samadani, from the National Science Foundation, over thirty entrepreneurs were in attendance as Samadani coached the aspiring innovators on how to successfully pitch their technology.

Dorothea Helmer, Startup Challenge semi-finalist, said this clinic was extremely useful because of the vast knowledge of the instructor. "It takes someone special to talk about science in a way that people understand. Same for business. Not every businessman can talk about business in a way people can understand. [Fazim] does both."

Throughout the clinic, Samadani noted the importance of treating investors as people. He repeatedly reminded the audience, "You are not talking to companies, organizations, industries. You're talking to people. For early stage startups, it's really important to clearly state what the problem is, how you will solve it, and what's differentiating you from existing solutions. It's not about the technology itself, it's about the problem you can solve."

Marinna Madrid, co-founder of Cellino Biotech and 2017 Startup Challenge winner, joined the group near the end to offer advice and share her experiences. She says SPIE has and continues to play a large role in her startup success - especially when it comes to the value of storytelling.

"Leave a story that not only focuses on the physics of your technology, but the big picture," Madrid said with a smile, "That's what we did."