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2013 SPIE Startup Challenge

Winners Announced!

SPIE hosted and Jenoptik was the lead sponsor for the 3rd Annual Startup Challenge for photonics technology at Photonics West.

1st place

fastCHECK: a revolutionary 3D surface inspection system that is amazingly fast, accurate and easy-to-use.
Arun Chhabra and Erik Klaas (co-founders)
8tree Inc.
$10,000 prize

Arun Chhabra pitch - 8tree

fastCHECK is specifically designed to measure surface flushness of fasteners (rivets) in the aerospace industry. A typical commercial aircraft is held-together by 60,000 fasteners. If a fastener on the aircraft surface is out of tolerance (i.e. above/below the surrounding surface, OR at an extreme angle), it creates problems that can have significant economic (fuel-inefficiency due to excessive air-drag) and safety (structural integrity) implications. Today, there is an absence of effective measurement tools that allow aircraft manufacturing-line technicians to quickly, accurately and easily measure their work and take corrective action. This arduous inspection stage is the critical bottleneck leading to significant, well-publicized delays in aircraft manufacturing output. The problems are exacerbated further by the tighter fastener tolerances for newer carbon-fiber aircraft manufacturing materials.

fastCHECK addresses all of the aforementioned issues with flying colors and has the potential to boost lagging manufacturing efficiency. As a result, the aerospace industry is actively evaluating fastCHECK for both, the manufacturing inspection of new aircraft AND the regular and recurring maintenance of all aircraft currently in service.

2nd place

Compact, Low cost, High Performance Optical Biosensors for Point-of-Care Diagnostics
Ryan Denomme
Nicoya Lifescience
$5,000 prize

Ryan Denomme Video

Our optical biosensor platform will be a part of the next wave of technology that brings about this disruption to the healthcare system by providing an affordable, uncomplicated diagnostic tool. We plan to focus our technology on applications in the chronic disease management sector, which currently accounts for 70% of the U.S. healthcare budget. Our business model is similar to the business model used by the glucose meter industry for diabetes monitoring. We plan to provide our test reader at a low cost to drive recurrent sale of sensor cartridges, which will provide the main source of revenue. Our first customers will be specialized clinics, such as the Minute Clinic, that deal with rules based disorders and chronic disease management. We plan to validate our technology in these specialty clinics prior to expanding into the consumer market, in which our products will be sold through pharmacies, grocery stores, and online.

3rd place

Remote Image Guided Endoscopic Surgery (RIGES) Platform
Frank Palmer
ColdSteel Laser
$2,500 Prize

Frank Palmer Pitch Video

ColdSteel Laser is a medical device company from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center developing the RIGES platform to improve minimally invasive surgery. Many tumors inside the body cannot easily be removed using existing technology and patients are forced to undergo invasive surgery or potentially toxic non-surgical treatment to achieve cure. RIGES utilizes rotating optical wedges to remotely control a focused laser deep within the body. This platform is expected to lower costs for payers, decrease the length of operation and increase the number of treatable cases for surgeons, and improve functional outcomes for patients.

 

All Startup Challenge Finalists
All 10 finalist presenters in the 2013 Startup Challenge. (L-R) Peter Tottrup, Frank Palmer, Arun Chhabra, Michael Engelmann, Sanjee Abeytunge, Chris Glazowski, Swapnajit Chakravarty, Alexander Oraevsky, Leslie Kimmerling, Ryan Denomme

 

Judges for Startup Challenge Finals
Our excellent team of judges for the finals. (L-R) Adam Wax (Duke University), Bruce Itchkawitz (Knobbe Martens), Patricia Glaza (Arsenal Venture Partners), Jason Eichenholz (Open Photonics), Jay Kumler (Jenoptik)

 

Audience for the Startup Challenge
A nice crowd gathers to hear the pitches - you may spot Sergey Egerov, one of 1st round judges and member of the Tech Coast Angels group in the front row.

 

Frank Palmer presents his 3 minute pitch
Frank Palmer presents his 3 minute pitch for RIGES

 

Jay Kumler questions pitch presenter during the response time.
Jay Kumler (Jenoptik) questions a pitch presenter during the response time.

 

Pitch presenters occupy the stage while each presents
All finalists occupy the stage while each presenter has their time in the spotlight

 

Arun Chhabra presents his pitch for the fastCHECK detector / visualization system
Arun Chhabra presents his pitch for the fastCHECK detector / visualization system from 8tree

 

Patricia Glaza (Arsenal Venture Partners) asks important questions about the financial realities of the pitches
Patricia Glaza (Arsenal Venture Partners) asks important questions about the financial realities of the pitches

 

Event organizer and moderator Dirk Fabian (SPIE)
Event organizer and moderator Dirk Fabian (SPIE) keeps the show moving along

 

Adam Wax (Duke University)
With so many pitches for medical devices and cancer detection systems, having an expert like Adam Wax (Duke University) on the judging team keeps the pitches grounded in science

 

Andrea Belz hosts the pitch clinic
Andrea Belz (UCLA / Belz Consulting) brings both her physics and business experience to lead the pitch clinic and help all the semi-finalists get prepped

 

Semi-final round judges
The 10 finalists are selected from the pool of 20 who attend the pitch clinic and face the judges in the semi-final round. (L-R) Wellington Chadehumbe (Quintessential Africa Holdings, Ltd.), Kevin McCarthy (Shasta Crystals), Laura Smoliar (Peppertree Engineering, Inc.) and Michael Mielke (Raydiance, Inc.) get ready to make their selections

 

Arun Chhabra goes home with $10,000 for 8tree
Arun Chhabra from 8tree goes home with $10,000 and first prize in the 2013 Startup Challenge competition

 

Jay Kumler congratulates Arun Chhabra on a great pitch for fastCHECK
Jay Kumler (Jenoptik) congratulates Arun Chhabra on a great pitch for fastCHECK. Sponsorship of the Startup Challenge figures strongly in Jenoptiks strategy for fostering commercially viable innovation in optics and photonics

 

Arun Chhabra, Ryan Denome, and Frank Palmer are the top three winners in the competition
Arun Chhabra, Ryan Denome, and Frank Palmer are the top three winners in the competition

 

Ryan Denomme and Frank Palmer with Bruce Itchkawitz (Center)
Ryan Denomme and Frank Palmer with Bruce Itchkawitz (Center) of Knobbe Martens, a law firm specialized in intellectual property and photonics. As part of their sponsorship, Bruce is donating consulting time to the winners of the Startup Challenge.

Founding Partner

JENOPTIK


Supporting Sponsors

Edmund Optics


TRUMPF


Open Photonics


National Science Foundation