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SPIE Startup Challenge at Photonics West 2017

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.

New this year, attendees at Photonics West have two opportunities to experience the SPIE Startup Challenge:

  • Startup Challenge Semi-Finals:
    Tuesday 31 January, 2:00 - 4:00 PM
    Park Central Hotel, Franciscan I & II, Stanford Room
    Watch the semi-finalists, divided into three tracks, compete for six coveted spots in the Finals.

  • The Final Round:
    Wednesday 1 February, 3:30 - 6:00 PM
    Moscone South, Room 103
    See the top six presenters go for $10,000 from Jenoptik and $5,000 in products from Edmund Optics.

The Finals conclude with a networking reception where you can meet the judges and participants.

Join fellow business development, investment, and product managers to scout new talent and see what the future of entrepreneurship in photonics looks like.

Check out our 2017 Startup Challenge Semi-Finalists.

Thank you to all those who applied.

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


Supporting Sponsors

Edmund Optics


Open Photonics

National Science Foundation