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24 Semi-Finalists Pitch Innovations to SPIE for a Share of $85,000

Pitching and getting your brave new ideas accepted is a difficult task in any industry, but luckily the non-profit organisation SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, have now announced the 24 semi-finalists to their SPIE Startup Challenge.

Held during SPIE Photonics West, SPIE are now in their 8th year of highlighting new businesses solving problems and innovating using photonics, and of course, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are important innovations too.

A panel of judges of different investors and business development experts looked at two rounds of pitches spanning a range of technologies. Included were microscopy, lasers and remote sensing. Healthcare is at the forefront for many of the startups, with entrepreneurs introducing solutions for different kinds of therapy, disease detection, and more.

Included in the different ideas are also better tools for AR and VR to make them available to a wider range of people.

The SPIE Startup Challenge is supported by a range of business and organisations, such as Jenoptik, Trumpf, Luminar and Luminate Accelerator. Jenoptik in particular is providing cash prizes of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place, and $2,500 for third place. Edmund Optics will also supply the first place winner with $5,000 worth of products.

Ophthalmic lenses are becoming more important in the VR and AR spaces as glasses become more of a boundary to immersion. We’ve even seen Luxexcel and Vuzix partner for prescription lenses in their head-mounted displays (HMDs).

Jay Kumler is president of Jenoptik, and is impressed with many of the pitches they’ve seen; “The impact of photonics on our daily lives is evident in the finalists of this year’s Startup Challenge. These entrepreneurs are presenting new and potentially disruptive products to solve real-world problems.  From drug discovery, imaging diagnostics, food safety to virtual reality, this international group of finalists will make the pitch presentation more exciting than ever!”

More entrepreneurs will have the chance to pitch their ideas to investors and potential partners during a rapid-fire round at the Photonics Fast Pitch Lunch. Each pitch will last only two minutes, and will give more startups a chance of success.

Seeing startups achieve success is always good for the industry. Recently a British startup raised £1.3 million for their VR and AR ideas. For all of the the latest news on startups and new technologies coming soon, keep reading VRFocus.