SPIE names 2024 Startup Challenge prize winners

Jan. 31, 2024
The three prize winners were announced on January 30th at a ceremony during SPIE Photonics West.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, named the three winners of its 14th annual SPIE Startup Challenge, a pitch competition to showcase new businesses, products, and technologies that address critical needs by using photonics in the areas of healthcare and deep tech (see video for a description of all the finalists). The three prize winners—winning $10,000, $5000, and $2500, respectively—were announced on January 30th at a ceremony during SPIE Photonics West.

The winner of the $10,000 top prize went to TRAQC, which developed a real-time inspection solution for the printed electronics industry. The solution uses terahertz radiation and metamaterial technology to ensure quality while reducing waste.

ClearVision took the $5000 second-place prize for its noninvasive alternative to permanent vision-correction surgeries based on corneal sculpting with femtosecond laser technology. Finally, UriMetrics nabbed third place with $2500 for its lens-free imaging solution to reduce the incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). 

All cash prizes are provided by SPIE Startup Challenge Founding Partner Jenoptik.

The SPIE Startup Challenge was supported by Founding Partner Jenoptik; Lead Sponsors Hamamatsu and Thorlabs; and Supporting Sponsor NextCorps Luminate. The competition judges who vetted the applicants for their business models, financial cases, and competitive advantages included Jenoptik’s Song Chung, Launch Team’s Michele Nichols, Edmund Optics' Agnes Hübscher, NextCorps Luminate’s Damon Diehl, Hamamatsu Ventures’ Richard Oberreiter, and Thorlabs’ Bill Donovan.

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