What is the goal of The Winning Pitch Challenge?
- To inspire innovation in ophthalmology by ophthalmologists
- To develop an ecosystem that supports innovation in ophthalmology
- To provide knowledge and tools that help retina specialists transform “ideas” into solutions for ophthalmology problems
- To connect early stage ophthalmologist innovators with early stage investors to accelerate development of solutions to ophthalmology problems
What are characteristics of the ideal candidate?
- Possess very early stage concept for solution to a significant ophthalmology problem
- Interested in access to:
- Feedback and advice from early stage investors and successful retinal innovators
- Opportunity to win $25,000 first place, $15,000 second place, or $5,000 third place cash prize—no strings attached!
- Ability to submit at least a provisional application for patent by the time of the submission deadline—to permit uninhibited public pitch at The Winning Pitch Challenge
- Our resources may help applicant complete provisional application for patent prior to submission deadline
- Product is currently generating little or no revenue
How does the mentor program work?
- The mentor program is comprised of successful entrepreneurs, investors, executives, and others who volunteer their expertise to help ophthalmologist innovators succeed. All submissions are reviewed by the session moderators and panel of judges. The semi-finalists that advance to Round 2 are matched with a mentor. Mentors provide applicants with valuable insight and advice on the concept, business model, regulatory issues, etc. Mentors also work with their mentee closely on their presentation and delivery of their pitch. The judges and audience want an engaging and energetic pitch live on the stage. Applicants submit a recording of their pitch at the Round 2 deadline, and 3 finalists are chosen to pitch live on stage.
- Round 1 submissions are due February 28 and mentors will be assigned to each applicant at that time.
- Mentor commitment is at least 1.5 hours, or three 30-minute phone calls.
- The finalist’s mentors will be recognized from the podium at the start of the session.
- New in 2023: The audience will be able to submit questions and participate in a live vote to determine the winning pitch. Mentors are allowed to vote and are encouraged to advocate for their mentee with the other attendees. Mentors will join the finalists on stage during award presentation.
What criteria are used by judges?
- 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
- Clarity of request for investment
- Quality and energy of the presentation
How is the Winning Pitch Challenge Finals pitch event structured?
- 3 pitches (roughly 5 minutes each, presentation time may vary between shows)
- Judges and audience will grade each pitch live on a scale of 1-10
- Moderators and judges discuss pitches with contestants while average scores are calculated
- Announcement of winners and awarding of checks
- See submission form for more details
Will my idea be kept confidential?
- Any data or information discussed or divulged by entrants during The Winning Pitch Challenge event should be considered information that could possibly enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged, or presented in these sessions. Because of the nature of the Winning Pitch Challenge and your decision to apply and present your idea, it is ideal to have your innovation protected. A provisional patent application should be in place at a minimum, and ideally a formal patent application has been filed to protect your innovation.
- Due to the nature of the competition, we are not able to ask judges, reviewers, staff, or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements. As a result, all data and other information submitted, discussed or otherwise disclosed by entrants during The Winning Pitch Challenge should be considered information that will enter the public realm, and entrants should not expect any right of confidentiality in any such data or information.
- All presentations are open to even attendees, and some presentations may be videotaped.
May I submit more than one product idea?
Yes! Submit as many ideas as you like, but no more than one qualifying submission will be advanced to final round.
May I submit the same innovation idea to both annual Winning Pitch Challenge competitions?
Yes! If your idea has applications to both posterior and anterior segments, feel free to submit for both ASCRS and AAO competitions.