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SPIE Startup Challenge competition 2021 opens for applications

29 Oct 2020

Participants must have an optics or photonics technology or application as the basis for a viable new business.

Applications are now open for the 2021 SPIE Startup Challenge. The annual entrepreneurial pitch competition is held by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, both online and in person, and co-located with Photonics West. In 2021, Photonics West will take place in San Francisco's Moscone Center, 6-11 March.

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 utilize optics and photonics for innovative products or applications.

As well as the industry-judged competition, in this, the Challenge's 11th year, SPIE will be offering a free online entrepreneurial training program which includes pitch clinics, customer-discovery training, and investor-relations training. Anyone considering launching a startup in optics and photonics is welcome to take part.

Feedback and business development ideas

Teams applying specifically for the Startup Challenge will get feedback on their business and pitch from business development experts and investors. The semi-finals of the competition, featuring more than 30 teams pitching new products in photonics-enabled healthcare and deep tech, will also take place in an online format.

During SPIE Photonics West, the one-day SPIE Venture Summit will showcase the Startup participants' pitches and an engaging line-up of photonics-industry panels, speakers, and investor roundtables. 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 developments in 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 will be held during the Venture Summit.

Competition judges include venture capitalists and business-development experts from the photonics industry who vet applicants for their business case, financial case, and competitive advantages. The SPIE Startup Challenge application deadline is 30 November. Learn more about the competition, and apply here.

LaCroix Precision OpticsSPECTROGON ABAlluxaHÜBNER PhotonicsHyperion OpticsCeNing Optics Co LtdUniverse Kogaku America Inc.
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