2022 SPIE Startup Challenge Finalists to Showcase Emerging Photonics Innovations

Finals of the annual industry-focused SPIE pitch competition will be held at SPIE Photonics West

BELLINGHAM, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ten early-stage startup companies from six countries have been selected to compete for a $10,000 top prize at the 12th annual SPIE Startup Challenge at Photonics West on 25 January. In addition, five companies currently in the process of early-stage fundraising – Comptek Solutions Oy, Fastree3D, Raydiant Oximetry, Stratio, Inc., and UbiQD – will be presenting their new technologies to prospective investors.

The SPIE Startup Challenge is supported by Founding Partner Jenoptik, Lead Sponsors MKS Instruments, Hamamatsu, and Thorlabs, and Strategic Partners Aspire360 and NextCorps’ Luminate. Judges include venture capitalists and business-development experts who vet the applicants for their business case, financial case, and competitive advantages. Transformational innovations this year include technologies in quantum computing, semiconductors, additive manufacturing, medical imaging, and display technology.

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. The SPIE Startup Challenge is an annual entrepreneurial pitch competition for new businesses that utilize optics and photonics to create innovative products, applications, and technologies. Startup Challenge winners that have gone on to wider commercial success include Cellino Biotech, Double Helix Optics, PhotoniCare, C. Light Technologies, Circle Optics, and In A Blink.

The ten 2022 SPIE Startup Challenge finalists are:

  • Ascend Manufacturing, with a novel 3D printing technology
  • LightCare, with a smart, effective, and safe medical optics technology for muscle-training physiology
  • Luminess, with Luminess Detectors, a versatile platform for safer, more sensitive, and more reliable X-ray medical imaging
  • Modendo Inc., with ultrathin endomicroscopes that provide high-resolution optical imaging and photo-stimulation for currently inaccessible brain regions
  • Nicslab, with XDAC, a multichannel power driver that controls the light in PICs
  • ORCA Computing, using room temperature and photonic quantum-computing systems to solve complex machine-learning workloads
  • Phaseform, with a new approach to adaptive optics
  • Quantopticon, with simulation software for quantum photonic hardware manufacturers who want to build optimized quantum photonic devices
  • Specto Photonics, with next-generation miniaturized spectrometers to measure fundamental mechanical properties for life sciences and sensing applications
  • VitreaLab, with a laser-lit chip for the 2D and 3D display market

The full list of SPIE Startup Challenge finalists can also be found here.

For more information and to register for SPIE Photonics West 2020, please visit: https://spie.org/pw

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves more than 258,000 constituents from 184 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2020, SPIE provided over $5 million in community support including scholarships and awards, outreach and advocacy programs, travel grants, public policy, and educational resources. www.spie.org.


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