The SPIE Startup Challenge is held annually at Photonics West. Entrepreneurs apply to the program in October, and a panel of experts review the applications to offer insight into funding options and refinement of business plans. Finalists are selected in December and invited to pitch their light-based technology business plan to a team of business development experts and investors at Photonics West.
More than a simple pitch competition, the SPIE Startup Challenge is an entry point into the community of high-tech business development. Numerous mentors volunteer their time in support of new business ventures.
30 January 2024
Hosted at SPIE Photonics West
The application process is now closed.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2024 finalists.
All Startup Challenge applicants receive expert feedback on their technology and business model from photonics industry leaders based on their answers in the application. Finalists go on to compete at Photonics West for cash prizes provided by SPIE Startup Challenge Founding Partner Jenoptik.
Cash prizes for winners:
1st Place - US $10,000
2nd Place - US $5,000
3rd Place - US $2,500
In addition to the cash prizes, winning participants receive immediate and ongoing recognition, including:
Industry leaders at Jenoptik understand the value of superb innovation. The company's support of SPIE Startup Challenge is unmatched.
The competition focuses on new businesses and potential startups within two areas of focus from the worldwide community of entrepreneurs.
Scientific or engineering innovation (software apps not included)
Participating teams compete for sponsored prizes as well as gaining increased visibility with potential investors.
Industry leaders, mentors, and investors give their time, share expertise, and ensure startup businesses are on a path to success.
Participants in the competition are connected to other entrepreneurs and previous participants.