Applications are now open for the 2023 SPIE Startup Challenge. The annual entrepreneurial pitch competition is held by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, as part of SPIE Photonics West. In 2023, Photonics West will be held 28 January to 2 February in San Francisco's Moscone Center, with the SPIE Startup Challenge finals held 31 January.
The SPIE Startup Challenge is a competitive platform for new businesses that utilize optics and photonics for innovative products or applications. Participating teams compete for sponsored prizes, in addition to gaining increased visibility with potential investors.
Light-based technologies enable developments in a proliferating number of areas, from healthcare and high-speed communications to quantum computing, AR/VR/MR, and self-driving vehicles. The annual SPIE Startup Challenge — now celebrating its 13th year — provides a distinctive and vibrant platform for optics and photonics startups that are creating innovative products, applications, and technologies. Startup Challenge winners that have gone on to wider commercial success include Cellino Biotech, Double Helix Optics, PhotoniCare, C. Light Technologies, Circle Optics, and In A Blink.
The industry-judged competition will hear from teams pitching new products in photonics-enabled healthcare and deep tech, culling the original applicants down to 10 finalists. Competition judges include venture capitalists and business-development experts from the photonics industry who will vet applicants for their business case, financial case, and competitive advantages. Teams applying for the Startup Challenge will get feedback on their business and pitch from business-development experts and investors.