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SPIE to host entrepreneur competition at Photonics West 2012 sponsored by Jenoptik

Jena, Germany / Bellingham, Washington, USA, 20.01.2012

Jenoptik is sponsoring SPIE´s Photonics West Biophotonics and Opto Start-up challenges to support entrepreneurship. SPIE Fellows Jay Kumler and Dr. Marc Himel from Jenoptik´s Optical Systems division are part of the jury.

Learn more about the SPIE Start-up challenge events at:

Jena, Germany / Bellingham, Washington, USA – Twenty aspiring entrepreneurs will pitch their biophotonics and optoelectronics ideas and products to a team of expert judges in a photonics-based start-up business pitch competition Monday and Wednesday (23 and  25 January) at the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco. Hosted by SPIE and sponsored by Jenoptik, the contest will bring together early-stage entrepreneurs with experienced industry leaders, product specialists, and venture capitalists serving as contest judges.

Participants each will have just three minutes to pitch the product or procedure that they think has commercial potential.

“Presenting a compelling business case is as important to a successful pitch as describing the science that makes it work. For scientists and engineers looking to take their research into the commercial world, pitching their idea is an important skill that can lead directly to funding.” said Jay Kumler, responsible for the U.S. based Optical Systems activities of Jenoptik.

Dr. Dirk Rothweiler, Member of the Jenoptik Executive Board and heading the Group´s Optical Systems Division added: "Partnering with SPIE on this entrepreneurial event is an extension of Jenoptik's innovation culture.  We realize that ideas are only innovations once they are successful in the market, and Jenoptik is pleased to be part of this exciting event bringing new ideas to light."

This years SPIE Biophotonics and Opto Start-up challenges events will be supported by Jenoptik with an exclusive sponsorship. SPIE Fellows Jay Kumler and Dr. Marc Himel, Business Development of the Microoptics business unit of Jenoptik´s Optical Systems division will be part of the jury.  

Winners of the competition will be sponsored to attend one of two week-long entrepreneurship workshops run by the University of California Davis Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The workshop focuses on helping entrepreneurs explore development options, clarify their business plan, and network with entrepreneurial leaders and potential funding sources.
The winner of the 2011 Biophotonics Start-up Challenge, Hariharan Subramanian, commended the competition and workshop prize, saying "It was indeed a wonderful experience to go through the week of 'entrepreneurial' training. They had an excellent set of speakers who told their real-life experience of starting a venture and going through the process. The academy was also structured in a manner that gave enough time to work on individual and team projects and to present our final business plan."

A post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Vadim Backman at Northwestern University, Subramanian is working on the commercialization of an optical system that can detect lung cancer with only a cheek swab.

Cancer detection and non-invasive treatments are common themes in the Biophotonics Challenge, while the Optoelectronics Challenge covers a very wide variety of potential products from light sources for networking to trace gas sensors and hand-held microscopes.
The event is free and open to all registered Photonics West attendees, and there will be time to
meet the presenters while the judges tabulate their results.

Biophotonics Start-up Challenge
Date: Monday 23 January
Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

OPTO Start-up Challenge
Date: Wednesday 25 January
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Convention Center Room 258


About SPIE

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. SPIE provided over $2.5 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2011.

About Jenoptik Optical Systems division

Through its Optical Systems division, the Jenoptik Group delivers world class precision optics and systems designed and manufactured to the highest quality standards.

Besides offering customized systems, modules and assemblies, the Optical Systems division is a development and production partner for optical, microoptical and coated optical components - made of optical glasses, IR materials as well as polymers.
It possesses outstanding expertise in the development and manufacture of optics and microoptics for beam shaping used in the semiconductor industry and laser material processing.

The product portfolio also includes optical and opto-electronic systems and components for applications in defense & security, health care & life science, digital imaging, machine vision as well as lighting.


Dr. Markus Besenbeck                                        
Director Marketing & Business Development            

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