BELLINGHAM, WA--(Marketwired - Nov 19, 2014) - New photonics entrepreneurs have through 1 December to enter the SPIE Startup Challenge 2015, an opportunity to pitch their light-based technology products to a team of business development experts and venture capitalists. The annual competition is held during SPIE Photonics West at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, running 7-12 February and hosted by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Cash prizes -- $10,000 for first prize, $5,000 for second prize, and $2500 for third -- are funded by Founding Partner Jenoptik. Additional support comes from Lead Sponsor Hamamatsu, and Supporting Sponsors Trumpf, Open Photonics, Edmund Optics, and Knobbe Martens. Edmund Optics also will award the first-place winner $5,000 in products.

Finalists will receive sponsorship to attend the Entrepreneurship Academy at the University of California, Davis.

Eligible applicants must present an optics or photonics technology or application as the basis for a viable new business. The event focuses on new businesses and potential startups. Established companies must be pre-revenue at the time of the competition and may not have sold any products.

Expert judges will evaluate written applications and select 20 applicants to deliver oral pitches. A second panel of judges will select the top pitches from the semi-final round, and the public final round will take place Wednesday 11 February.

Oral pitches may not exceed three minutes and two slides.

"The SPIE Startup Challenge is a great time to get feedback," said 2014 winner Robert McLaughlin, University of Western Australia. "The judges have been there, done that. There is a whole world of complexity in going from technical problems to commercialization. They taught me an awful lot about to get from an idea to turning it into a company where I can get it out into the world and make a difference."

More information is at

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 256,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, and professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided more than $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2013.

Contact Information:

Amy Nelson

+1 360 685 5478