A new Winning Pitch Challenge (WPC) symposium is coming to the 2019 American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting, providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs to share their innovative ophthalmic solutions with leading experts in the field. The symposium will be held on May 5, and the winner of the challenge will receive $10,000, as well as guidance from experts to put their idea into action.
The Round 1 deadline for submitting pitches is close: Monday, February 18. They can be submitted at this link. To advance through Round 1, submissions must meet these screening criteria:
- Concept addresses a significant problem facing anterior segment surgeons and/or their patients.
- Applicant is an ASCRS member in good standing.
- Applicant commits to present at the ASCRS Annual Meeting if selected as a finalist.
- Applicant has submitted at least a provisional application for a patent for their idea by the Winning Pitch Round 1 submission deadline.
Edward Holland, MD, Cincinnati Eye Institute, and Vance Thompson, MD, Vance Thompson Vision, will host the session. Dr. Thompson describes WPC as “basically a ‘Shark Tank’ for innovative ophthalmologists designed to help them bring their great ideas to fruition.”
The stated goal of the Winning Pitch Challenge, and its associated website, is to “provide ophthalmologists with an ecosystem within which they are aided with developing their innovative ideas through the development of prototypes and early stage testing phases of development.” The group hopes the competition and website will help achieve this goal by providing ophthalmologists with access to key educational resources, mentors with relevant business knowledge, networking opportunities, and exposure to potential financial resources needed to advance their ideas to early phase testing.
Dr. Thompson, and his co-organizers of the WPC, John Pollack, MD, Illinois Retina Associates, and David Williams, MD, MBA, VitreoRetinal Surgery, believe “the pace of innovation in ophthalmology can be sped up by making it easier for practicing ophthalmologists to transform their own novel ideas for improvements in patient care into functioning prototypes and early-stage studies.”
What’s in a Pitch
Pitches for the competition will be five to eight minutes in length, followed by seven to 10 minutes of moderated Q&A with the panel of judges.
Judging criteria include:
- magnitude of problem;
- innovativeness of the proposed solution;
- market size, strategy, and potential reimbursement;
- competitive analysis;
- business model, including capital requirements;
- intellectual property;
- the team; and
- clarity of request for investment.
Contestants moving on to Round 2 are eligible to be matched with an expert mentor, and finalists will have an opportunity to present their concept to a panel of potential investors, including angel, incubator, strategic partner, and venture investors.
Complete information can be found at the Winning Pitch Challenge website.
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