Semi-finalists selected to pitch photonics business ideas at SPIE Photonics West 2017
Semi-finalists in the 2017 SPIE Startup Challenge are preparing to compete as finalists
in a public final round of the pitch contest. Above, judges and audience hear pitches
during the 2016 event; judges from left are Mike Mielke (Trumpf), Bruce Itchkawitz
(Knobbe Martens), Marc Himel (Jenoptik), and Mark Wippich (LightWave Advisors).
BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA, and CARDIFF, UK — Twenty-two semi-finalists have been selected to advance toward the finals and a share in more than $85,000 in prizes and other awards in the 2017 SPIE Startup Challenge. Aspiring entrepreneurs from universities and tech companies will pitch their light-based technology business plans to a panel of judges comprised of venture capitalists and business development experts this month during SPIE Photonics West, sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.
The SPIE Startup Challenge is supported by Founding Partner Jenoptik and Supporting Sponsors Edmund Optics, Trumpf, Open Photonics, and the U.S. National Science Foundation.
“Both the quality and range of the finalists in the Startup Challenge are inspiring,” said Jay Kumler, President of Jenoptik Optical Systems, LLC. “Some are addressing global health needs such as clean water, food safety, prenatal care, and cancer detection. Other semi-finalists are bringing photonics technology to market for wearables, connected cars, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. The final pitch presentation will be a must-see event.”
Pitches from the semi-finalists will take place 31 January in the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco. The top six presenters will move on to the final round on 1 February in the Moscone Center. Both events are open to the public with free registration.
Jenoptik is sponsoring cash prizes including $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place, and $2,500 for third place. The first-place winner will also receive $5,000 worth of products from Edmund Optics.
Semi-finalists also receive product demonstration time on the SPIE Photonics West Exhibition floor, a networking lunch with mentors and investors, and feedback on their business models from industry leaders. Finalists receive travel reimbursement for further training and a ticket to the Prism Awards reception and banquet on 1 February.
Semi-finalists were named in three tracks.
Track 1: Biophotonics, Point of Care
Track 2: Imaging, Displays, Lasers, Semiconductors
Track 3: Sensors, Wearables, Internet of Things (IoT)
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2016, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org
Public Relations Manager
+1 360 685 5478