BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — Ten early-stage startup companies from six countries have been selected to compete for a top prize of $10,000 at the 13th annual SPIE Startup Challenge at Photonics West on 31 January.
The SPIE Startup Challenge is an entrepreneurial pitch competition for new businesses that utilize optics and photonics to create innovative products, applications, and technologies. This year’s finalists include healthcare and deep tech innovations in medical diagnostics, medical imaging, food safety, and display technology.
The SPIE Startup Challenge is supported by Founding Partner Jenoptik; Lead Sponsors Edmund Optics, Hamamatsu, MKS Instruments, and Thorlabs; and Supporting Sponsors NextCorps Luminate and Photonics Media. Judges include venture capitalists and business-development experts who vet the applicants for their business case, financial case, and competitive advantages.
Optics and photonics — or light-based technologies — enable developments in a proliferating number of areas, from healthcare and high-speed communications to quantum computing, AR/VR/MR, and self-driving vehicles. Startup Challenge winners that have gone on to wider commercial success include Cellino Biotech, Circle Optics, C. Light Technologies, Double Helix Optics, In A Blink, and PhotoniCare.
The ten 2023 SPIE Startup Challenge finalists are:
- Actoprobe, with a non-spectroscopy probe for advanced manufacturing and life science
- FlulDect GmbH, with sensor technology combining the effects of whispering-gallery-modes (WGM) with functionalized fluorescent beads to detect pathogens in applications including food safety
- KostaCLOUD Inc., with a cloud-based optical design and simulation tool enabling real-time, optical-mechanical design collaboration, dramatically improving design-optimization times
- Lighthanded Enterprises, with LasEar Laser Otoscope, to improve diagnosis of common causes of childhood-hearing loss
- PatenSee, with an innovative combination of machine learning and imaging technology for dialysis patients
- PhoMedics Limited, with a histological imaging microscope offering real-time status during cancer surgery
- Phosio, with nanoimprintable, high-refractive index transparent coatings, a critical tool for expanding optical designs in AR
- PhosPrint P.C., with a novel technology that repairs in vivo human tissue during surgery
- QART Medical, utilizing biophotonics and data for 3D analysis of sperm cells during IVF
- Swave Photonics, enabling display-makers and content-creators with immersive holographic displays
The full list of SPIE Startup Challenge finalists can also be found here: https://spie.org/conferences-and-exhibitions/photonics-west/program/startup-challenge/finalists
In addition, four companies currently in the process of early-stage fundraising — Scinvivo, Comptek Solutions, Scantinel Photonics, and Nicslab — will be presenting their new technologies to prospective investors.
For more information and to register for SPIE Photonics West, please visit: https://spie.org/pw
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, brings engineers, scientists, students, and business professionals together to advance light-based science and technology. The Society, founded in 1955, connects and engages with our global constituency through industry-leading conferences and exhibitions; publications of conference proceedings, books, and journals in the SPIE Digital Library; and career-building opportunities. Over the past five years, SPIE has contributed more than $22 million to the international optics community through our advocacy and support, including scholarships, educational resources, travel grants, endowed gifts, and public-policy development. www.spie.org.