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Winners of the 2017 SPIE Startup Challenge

Founding Partner Jenoptik once again supported the pitch competition at Photonics West, hosted by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

SPIE Startup Challenge 2017

Taking first place at this year’s pitch competition for young entrepreneurs was Cellino, a Harvard university team presenting nanodevices for cellular therapy, using lasers and nanotechnology to cure viral or genetic disease that affects the blood. Marinna Madrid (presenter), Nabiha Saklayen and Jakub Florkiewicz accepted the 10,000 USD cash award for first place from Jay Kumler, who is an SPIE Fellow and as President responsible for the optics business of Jenoptik in the USA, on February 1, 2017 (see picture).

The second place was awarded IC Touch which allows blind or visually impaired people to “see” by translation of visual information captured by a camera to spatial tactile stimulation of their cornea. The startup Lumedica came in third place with OQ Eyescope, an accessible and affordable medical imaging technology.

At this year’s Photonics West from January 31 to February 2, a total of 22 semi-finalists were selected for the competition. The entrepreneurs presented their light-based products to an expert team including Jenoptik business development manager and SPIE Fellow Marc Himel. Six finalists were selected to pitch their business ideas in only a few minutes each.

Founding Partner Jenoptik once again supported this annual competition hosted by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, with cash prizes and expertise. Jenoptik also sponsored the 5,000 USD cash award for second place and 2,500 USD for third place.

At the trade fair in in San Francisco, Jenoptik exhibited various products and solutions for photonics, medical technology and industrial applications, for example new beam expanders and F-theta lenses as well as customized imaging systems, sensors and polymer-based optics.

Picture, from left: Jakub Florkiewicz, Nabiha Saklayen and Marinna Madrid (presenter) accepted the 10,000 USD cash award for first place from Jay Kumler. ©Marc Himel for Jenoptik.

About Jenoptik

As an integrated photonics company, Jenoptik is active in the three segments Optics & Life Science, Mobility and Defense & Civil Systems. Its customers around the world mainly include companies in the semiconductor equipment industry, automotive and automotive supplier industry, medical technology, security and defense technology as well as the aviation industry. Jenoptik has about 3,500 employees and generated revenue of approximately 670 million euros in 2015.


Point of contact Cornelia Ehrler - Communications and Marketing

Cornelia Ehrler

Communications and Marketing

+49 3641 65-4455

+49 3641 65-2484

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