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Startup Challenge 2020

Applications are open for the 2020 SPIE Startup Challenge. The annual entrepreneurial pitching competition is held by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, in conjunction with Photonics West.

The SPIE Startup Challenge is a competitive platform – winning teams share from more than $85,000 in cash and other prizes – for new businesses that are utilizing optics and photonics for innovative products or applications. As well as the industry-judged competition, in this, the Challenge's 10th year, SPIE will be offering a six-day entrepreneurial-training program. This will include networking events for the Challenge applicants and venture investors, as well as expert-directed workshops.

In addition, the inaugural SPIE Venture Summit will showcase the complete range of the Startup participants' pitches and an engaging line-up of industry panels and speakers. Summit attendees will receive an investor-focused view of the latest trends in optics and photonics, from hot technology markets to the mergers and acquisitions that are reshaping industries. Today, light-based technologies enable a proliferating number of areas, from healthcare and high-speed communications, to quantum computing, AR/VR, and self-driving vehicles.

The SPIE Startup Challenge finals – featuring two tracks, photonics-enabled healthcare and deep technology – will be held Wednesday, February 5.

The SPIE Startup Challenge is enabled by Founding Partner Jenoptik; Lead Sponsors Edmund Optics, Hamamatsu, MKS Instruments, and B&W Tek CEO Sean Wang; Strategic Partner LDV Capital; and Supporting Sponsors Trumpf, the Luminate Accelerator, and the National Science Foundation. Competition judges include venture capitalists and business-development experts from the photonics industry.

Most of the Challenge-related events will be held in San Francisco's Moscone West and require a paid conference badge. Saturday afternoon and Wednesday events are free and open to the public.

Learn more about the competition and apply here.

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