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Aspiring Photonics Entrepreneurs to Vie for Prizes, Connections in SPIE Startup Challenge

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (PRWEB) December 19, 2012

Judges have begun evaluating submissions for the 2013 SPIE Startup Challenge, the next step in a photonics business pitch competition that will land the three top winners a share of $17,500. Following the final live pitch competition, winners will be announced during SPIE Photonics West next February at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Ten finalists will present their three-minute pitches to a panel of judges on Wednesday 6 February, 3:30-5 p.m., followed by announcement of winners and a reception with presenters, judges, sponsors. The finalist presentation is open to the public with free registration.

Pitches will showcase optics or photonics technologies or applications presented as the basis for viable new businesses. The focus is on new businesses and potential startups, so established companies must be pre-revenue at the time of the competition.

First prize is $10,000, second prize $5,000, and third prize $2,500. Each of the 10 finalists will receive sponsorship to attend the Entrepreneurship Academies organized by University of California, Davis.

“The SPIE Startup Challenge has become an outstanding annual opportunity to see early-stage innovation in progress,” said Jay Kumler, President of JENOPTIK Optical Systems. “Partnering with SPIE as lead sponsor for the past two years is one tool that JENOPTIK uses to encourage entrepreneurship in our company and in our industry. The event fits our values and our culture.”

Additional support for the competition is provided by TRUMPF, Open Photonics, and the UC Davis Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Winners in previous Startup Challenges pitched products including a device for delivering medications through the skin without an injection, a compact, hand-held microscope, on-chip light sources for increasing computing speed, and an early-stage diagnostic tool to help stave off age-related macular degeneration.

Finalist judges will include JENOPTIK’s Kumler, Adam Wax of Duke University, and Jason Eichenholz of Open Photonics.

Judges for preliminary rounds are Bill Goodman, OMS; Nicholas MacKinnon, Lumedica; Linda Smith, Ceres Technology Advisors; Sergey Egorov, Del Mar Photonics /Tech Coast Angels; Marc Himel, JENOPTIK; and Randy Heyler, Ondax.

About SPIE
SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 225,000 constituents from approximately 150 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional growth, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $2.7 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2011.

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