SPIE Startup Challenge at Photonics West 2018

The SPIE Startup Challenge is held annually at the Photonics West

The SPIE Startup Challenge is held annually at the Photonics West. This competitive event invites new entrepreneurs to pitch their light-based technology business plan to a team of business development experts and venture capitalists.

Applicants selected to pitch at Photonics West are invited to attend an entrepreneur boot camp for training, networking, and refining their business plan. The best pitch presenters receive cash prizes and are provided support to attend additional entrepreneurship training to continue refining ideas and make further contacts with experts.

Meet our judges for this year's event.

Timeline for Events at Photonics West 2018
29 January, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM:  Pitch Clinic for Semi-Finalists
29 January, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM:  Startup Challenge Networking Lunch
30 January, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM:  Startup Challenge Semi-Finals; Finalists selected
31 January, 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM:  Startup Challenge Finals; Networking Reception


Structure of the Competition

All applicants will have their written application evaluated by a team of expert judges. Judges will select approximately 20 semi-final pitches that will enter the live pitch round of the competition from the initial pool of applicants. The applicants are divided among three tracks.

The Semi-Final Round
The semi-final round will take place Tuesday afternoon at Photonics West 2018 and is structured exactly like the final round, and is open to all attendees. A panel of judges, different from the initial pool, will select the top 6 presenters from Tuesday – 2 from each track – who will go on to the final competition on Wednesday afternoon.

Semi-Finals Schedule | Tuesday 30 January, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Park Central Hotel | Franciscan I Room – Track 1: Biophotonics, Point of Care
Park Central Hotel | Franciscan II Room – Track 2: Imaging, Displays, Lasers, Semiconductors
Park Central Hotel | Stanford Room – Track 3: Sensors, Wearables, Internet of Things

The Final Round
The final round will occur in public on Wednesday, 31 January at Photonics West 2018, in Room 21 of Moscone Center North. Judges will decide the top 3 pitches and announce the winners shortly after the last presenter has finished. The decisions of the judges are final.

Rules for the Pitch
Oral pitches for both rounds of the Startup Challenge can be no longer than FIVE (5) MINUTES each. Extra time and additional materials beyond the pitch slides are not allowed. Pitches must be made live and in person at Photonics West by the applicant or a team member named in the application.

Participation in the competition means that you agree to have your startup presentation evaluated publicly. Furthermore, you allow SPIE to use your name, likeness, and the information provided in the Startup pitch to promote your product and this competition, in print and electronic communication means.

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