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SPIE names 2020 Startup Challenge semi-finalists

22 Jan 2020

Industry-focused pitching competition held during Photonics West to showcase 42 startups vying to win $85,000 in prizes and support.

Forty-two photonics business startups from 14 countries will participate in the 2020 SPIE Startup Challenge semi-finals, to be held during SPIE Photonics West on 4 February. On 5 February, 12 finalists will compete for cash prizes from Jenoptik as well as for business support from Challenge partners and sponsors.

Prizes include $10,000 for first place as well as $5,000 in products from Edmund Optics; $5,000 for second place; and $2,500 for third place. In addition, Early-stage Entrepreneurship travel grants will be awarded to three of the semi-finalists.

“Over the past ten years, we have seen many startups gain traction and flourish,” commented SPIE Fellow and Jenoptik Optical Systems President Jay Kumler. “This year, the applicants are more impressive than ever. The SPIE Startup Challenge is unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of our photonics industry.”

Both the semi-finals and finals of this exciting pitching competition are open to anyone with a free Photonics West exhibition registration. Semi-finalists will also be demoing their products throughout the day on Tuesday, February 4 as part of the SPIE Venture Summit.

The Semi-finalists’ will cover four tracks: Pre-Seed Stage Deep Tech, Pre-Seed Stage Healthcare, Seed Stage Deep Tech, and Seed Stage Healthcare. A full list of all 42 semi-finalists, organized by development stage and technology area is here:

Pre-Seed stage, Healthcare

  • BioPixS "aims to save in millions by reducing unnecessary clinical trials and ethical approval process, nurturing a new era in biophotonics standards."
  • Conzeb "develops ultrafast optical imaging technologies, aimed at revolutionising single-cell imaging assay for cancer screening and drug discovery."
  • Dermadiagnostics presents "diapatch TM – a noninvasive, wearable patch that allows for better detection of high-risk biomarkers leading to malignant gynecologic cancer health."
  • Digiteyez Technologies to present "The future of global eyecare."
  • Harmonigenic has developed OPTIM (Optical Prediction of Time Interval to Metastasis), which will predict cancer recurrence, optimal Rx, & personalized outcomes from the initial biopsy."
  • Kilo Medical Solutions: "Brise-Solette is a system that attaches to incubators in the NICU and controls the light environment to improve health outcomes for premature infants."
  • LASE Innovation is "commercializing nano-to-micron sized particle lasers with billions of spectral barcodes for massively multiplexed tagging and imaging of single cells."
  • McFocal Bioimaging "offers a multiplexing confocal fluroescence lifetime imaging microscope for drug discovery as well as precision medicine."
  • Odin Technologies is developing "a wearable diagnostic that assesses extremity hemodynamics; allowing caregivers to identify perfusion injuries and complications."
  • PediaMetrix "enables parents to detect, monitor, and treat Flat Head Syndrome at the point of care using patented AI-enabled mobile application."
  • Summit Biomedical Imaging presents its "Targeted Cancer Diagnostics" method.

Pre-Seed stage, Deep Tech

  • Biomimetic is presenting "a new way to produce bio-inspired antireflective glass with the use of laser light. We bring nature's ingenuity on surface engineering."
  • Devali Inc is "on a mission to save lives; Devali's Oumen Industrial recognizes pre-symptomatic heatstroke, gas exposure and more from the comfort of a work boot."
  • Kosmik Energy is "focusing the sun’s rays into optical fiber to enable an increase in yield while mitigating production cost in vertical farming systems."
  • Lucero has developed an "AI-automated, non-contact, single-cell micromanipulation system that is accessible to every biologist in the world."
  • Momentum Optics presents its "Affordable custom optics - rapidly delivered."
  • Nanograss Photonics is "reducing $-per-bit of information for hyperscale data centers by leveraging our opto-plasmonic technology for communications beyond 5G."
  • ORCA Computing "uses proprietary, optical fibre-based technology as a new approach towards cheaper, more scalable and reconfigurable quantum computers."
  • QLM Technology: "Natural gas leaks are a major source of global greenhouse gas. Quantum gas imagers to see the leaks will help save billions of dollars…and our planet."
  • Specto "develops next-generation miniaturized spectrometers to measure fundamental mechanical properties for life sciences and sensing applications."
  • Vyir Inc's "optical infrared imager will result in the technological and commercial realization of truly low-cost, high-performance infrared cameras."

Seed stage, Healthcare

  • Adiuvo Diagnostics has developed "non invasive, label-free detection and classification of pathogens on wounds in real-time."
  • AiDx Medical presents its "reliable, smart, optical instrument for automated, affordable, field-compatible malaria detection. For quick and high quality malaria screening."
  • C. Light Technologies is a "neurotech and AI company that has created a 10-second retinal eye-tracking scan that can objectively assess brain health."
  • Eysz, Inc.: "our seizure detection software software algorithm uses oculometric data (i.e, eye movements) to reliably detect a seizure.Leave no seizure undetected."
  • iLoF - Intelligent Lab on Fiber - "is enabling a new era of personalized medicine, by providing photonics and AI screening tools for the epidemic of our century: Alzheimer's."
  • OptoGenTech GmbH: "In our optical Cochlea Implant, light stimulates neurons of the ear, allowing deaf to hear with a frequency resolution superior to the electrical CI."
  • PhosPrint "Advanced laser technology for precise cells printing and regenerative medicine applications."
  • Rubitection's Rubitect Assessment System (RAS) is "an optical skin health and wellness tool for diagnosis and monitoring with an initial application to early pressure ulcer (bedsore) prevention."
  • SurgiVance "aims to provide instant bedside diagnosis of skin cancer indistinguishable from standard pathology."

Seed stage, Deep Tech

  • Circle Optics's "Hydra is setting a new standard for 360° content capture by making it as easy as a regular point and shoot camera."
  • Firefly Photonics’ "mid-infrared LED microarrays are optimized for thermal scene generation supporting autonomous navigation testing and gas sensing."
  • Labby is "a data company that is combining optical sensing with AI to help dairy farms become more profitable through real-time milk analysis."
  • Nicslab Pty Ltd: "We create Xpow as a compact, scalable, and integrated photonic driver for faster internet."
  • Optomel "enables photonics innovators to grow new markets through our precise, roll-to-roll optical filter technology."
  • Owl Autonomous Imaging’s "3D thermal ranging camera operates day and night, in most weather, to classify pedestrians, animals and vehicles for safe autonomous operation."
  • Monolithic Short-Wave Infrared Focal Plane Array: "Making short-wave infrared technologies affordable for commercial machine vision and imaging markets with low-cost imaging arrays."
  • SaNoor has developed a "High-speed laser transceiver based LiFi system that enables 100,000x faster wireless data communication between underwater and underground devices."
  • Senorics GmbH builds "low-cost, mobile and robust spectroscopic systems which bring spectroscopy to the B2C mass market - detect. know. decide."
  • SpectroClick Inc.: "With an easy to use portable spectrometer, every person can test and obtain direct results for substances of concern in their home or the environment."
  • SurClean Inc.: "Precise, safe, clean surface coating removal and preparation."
  • Touchless Automation: "Levio is the first contactless die sorter. Contactless pick up, automatic inspection and sorting. Perfect for MEMS and photonics."

Startup sponsors and judges

The SPIE Startup Challenge, which showcases new businesses, products, and technologies that are addressing critical needs with photonics, is in its 10th year, and is enabled by Founding Partner Jenoptik; Strategic Partner LDV Capital; Lead Sponsors Edmund Optics, MKS Instruments, Hamamatsu, and B&W Tek CEO Sean Wang; and Supporting Sponsors the National Science Foundation and the Luminate Accelerator.

Judges include venture capitalists and business-development experts who vet the applicants for their business case, financial case, and competitive advantages. Transformational innovations this year include neurologic therapies, single-cell imaging and printing, drug discovery, rapid cancer detection, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing, and hostile-environment communications.

For more information and to register for SPIE Photonics West 2020, please visit the Photonics West website.

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