2024 SPIE Startup Challenge
Opens 12 Sep 2023 09:00 AM (PDT)
Deadline 19 Oct 2023 11:59 PM (PDT)
Description

Celebrating 14 years of light-based business creation!

Pitching at the Startup Challenge

The SPIE Startup Challenge for photonics technology is held annually at the Photonics West conference in San Francisco. This competitive event invites new entrepreneurs to pitch their light-based technology business plan to a team of business development experts and investors.

More information can be found on the SPIE website at http://spie.org/startup


Eligibility: 

Participants must have an optics or photonics technology or application that they wish to publicly present as the basis for a viable new business. Companies in the pre-seed or seed stages with less than $500K in revenue from products sold are encouraged to enter the competition. The focus is on new businesses and potential startups enabled by optics and photonics.  All those launching new businesses are encouraged to apply.

In 2024, we are accepting applications for:

  • Healthcare
  • Deep Tech -- involving scientific or engineering innovation (no apps)

The Startup Challenge accepts applications from the worldwide community of entrepreneurs.


How to Apply:

A SPIE web account is required to apply. Click "Sign In" above and log in using your SPIE login credentials.  Once you've logged in, navigate to this program and click the blue "Apply" button to begin your application. To create a SPIE account, or to retrieve forgotten account information, please follow this link. For any account assistance, please contact Customer Service at customerservice@spie.org.


Structure of the Competition:

Written Application: The written application is extensive and requires an investment of time to complete. A video pitch must be provided in addition to the supporting written information. 

Each answer will be saved automatically when you move on to the next question and you can return to previous questions and the application itself at any time.

Incomplete applications will not be evaluated. Answer all questions. Make your best educated guess if you do not know or have not yet determined how to approach this aspect of the business.

Feedback: Applicants to the Startup Challenge will have their applications evaluated by experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and business development experts. These evaluators will provide written feedback for the materials and pitches that teams provide. They evaluate each application on the strength of the business case, financial case, and the trajectory of the team. Judges select the teams that advance to the final round events.

Finals: Based on the written application and video pitch, judges select the teams who will become Startup Challenge Finalists.  These teams are invited to enter the live pitch round of the competition.  The final round will occur at Photonics West 2024, in the Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA.

A representative from each team will make a 5 minute pitch to a panel of judges. Judges then have 5 minutes to ask questions of the presenter. Judges will decide the top three pitches and the winners will be announced at a final awards ceremony. In all rounds, the decisions of the judges are final.

Final pitch decks will need to be provided electronically to the organizers at least 1 day ahead of the Finals.


Information for Applicants:

Rules for the Pitch: Oral pitches for the Startup Challenge can be no longer than FIVE (5) MINUTES each. Extra time is not allowed. Application pitches must be submitted in video format. Finals pitches must be made live and in person at Photonics West by the applicant or a team member named in the application. After the pitch, judges will have additional time to ask questions.

Application Fee: There is no fee to enter the competition.  However, applicants selected as finalists will need to pitch in person at Photonics West. You will need a registration for the conference in order to attend the finals.  Any Photonics West registration will provide access to the event.

Travel: Finals teams are responsible for making their own arrangements to travel to San Francisco. The Startup Challenge does not provide travel support to attend Photonics West.

A note on disclosure: The written application to participate in the Startup Challenge will be read by a team of evaluators who have been asked to keep the contents of the application confidential, however, no formal guarantee of confidentiality will be provided or implied. Participants should avoid the release of proprietary information, trade secrets, information subject to export control, or ITAR.


The Fine Print:

By submitting the completed online application, you agree that the information you have supplied is true and accurate and can be verified immediately upon request.

Applicants must submit all required information in order to be evaluated for the Startup Challenge. Teams that do not fulfill the revenue eligibility requirements will be removed from the competition. You may be asked to provide additional supporting information to verify your eligibility. If you would like to discuss your eligibility for the competition please contact the program administrator.

SPIE reserves the right to determine the final development stage and topical tracking of the applications.

You agree that SPIE may use your name, likeness, and the information provided in the Startup pitch to promote your product and this competition, in print and electronic communication means.

You understand the decisions of the judges and staff of SPIE are made in good faith to create a fair competition and are final.


Additional Questions: If you have questions about eligibility, participation, expectations, sponsorship, or anything related to the Startup Challenge, please contact the program administrator: Emily Bottemiller (emilyb@spie.org).  For any questions related to the application, please contact Nikki Anderson (nicollea@spie.org).

2024 SPIE Startup Challenge


Celebrating 14 years of light-based business creation!

Pitching at the Startup Challenge

The SPIE Startup Challenge for photonics technology is held annually at the Photonics West conference in San Francisco. This competitive event invites new entrepreneurs to pitch their light-based technology business plan to a team of business development experts and investors.

More information can be found on the SPIE website at http://spie.org/startup


Eligibility: 

Participants must have an optics or photonics technology or application that they wish to publicly present as the basis for a viable new business. Companies in the pre-seed or seed stages with less than $500K in revenue from products sold are encouraged to enter the competition. The focus is on new businesses and potential startups enabled by optics and photonics.  All those launching new businesses are encouraged to apply.

In 2024, we are accepting applications for:

  • Healthcare
  • Deep Tech -- involving scientific or engineering innovation (no apps)

The Startup Challenge accepts applications from the worldwide community of entrepreneurs.


How to Apply:

A SPIE web account is required to apply. Click "Sign In" above and log in using your SPIE login credentials.  Once you've logged in, navigate to this program and click the blue "Apply" button to begin your application. To create a SPIE account, or to retrieve forgotten account information, please follow this link. For any account assistance, please contact Customer Service at customerservice@spie.org.


Structure of the Competition:

Written Application: The written application is extensive and requires an investment of time to complete. A video pitch must be provided in addition to the supporting written information. 

Each answer will be saved automatically when you move on to the next question and you can return to previous questions and the application itself at any time.

Incomplete applications will not be evaluated. Answer all questions. Make your best educated guess if you do not know or have not yet determined how to approach this aspect of the business.

Feedback: Applicants to the Startup Challenge will have their applications evaluated by experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and business development experts. These evaluators will provide written feedback for the materials and pitches that teams provide. They evaluate each application on the strength of the business case, financial case, and the trajectory of the team. Judges select the teams that advance to the final round events.

Finals: Based on the written application and video pitch, judges select the teams who will become Startup Challenge Finalists.  These teams are invited to enter the live pitch round of the competition.  The final round will occur at Photonics West 2024, in the Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA.

A representative from each team will make a 5 minute pitch to a panel of judges. Judges then have 5 minutes to ask questions of the presenter. Judges will decide the top three pitches and the winners will be announced at a final awards ceremony. In all rounds, the decisions of the judges are final.

Final pitch decks will need to be provided electronically to the organizers at least 1 day ahead of the Finals.


Information for Applicants:

Rules for the Pitch: Oral pitches for the Startup Challenge can be no longer than FIVE (5) MINUTES each. Extra time is not allowed. Application pitches must be submitted in video format. Finals pitches must be made live and in person at Photonics West by the applicant or a team member named in the application. After the pitch, judges will have additional time to ask questions.

Application Fee: There is no fee to enter the competition.  However, applicants selected as finalists will need to pitch in person at Photonics West. You will need a registration for the conference in order to attend the finals.  Any Photonics West registration will provide access to the event.

Travel: Finals teams are responsible for making their own arrangements to travel to San Francisco. The Startup Challenge does not provide travel support to attend Photonics West.

A note on disclosure: The written application to participate in the Startup Challenge will be read by a team of evaluators who have been asked to keep the contents of the application confidential, however, no formal guarantee of confidentiality will be provided or implied. Participants should avoid the release of proprietary information, trade secrets, information subject to export control, or ITAR.


The Fine Print:

By submitting the completed online application, you agree that the information you have supplied is true and accurate and can be verified immediately upon request.

Applicants must submit all required information in order to be evaluated for the Startup Challenge. Teams that do not fulfill the revenue eligibility requirements will be removed from the competition. You may be asked to provide additional supporting information to verify your eligibility. If you would like to discuss your eligibility for the competition please contact the program administrator.

SPIE reserves the right to determine the final development stage and topical tracking of the applications.

You agree that SPIE may use your name, likeness, and the information provided in the Startup pitch to promote your product and this competition, in print and electronic communication means.

You understand the decisions of the judges and staff of SPIE are made in good faith to create a fair competition and are final.


Additional Questions: If you have questions about eligibility, participation, expectations, sponsorship, or anything related to the Startup Challenge, please contact the program administrator: Emily Bottemiller (emilyb@spie.org).  For any questions related to the application, please contact Nikki Anderson (nicollea@spie.org).

Opens
12 Sep 2023 09:00 AM (PDT)
Deadline
19 Oct 2023 11:59 PM (PDT)