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The Winning Pitch Challenge logo

Submit Your Innovation For the Chance to Win!

The Winning Pitch Challenge offers ophthalmologists addressing unmet needs in eye care the chance to shine in this Shark Tank–style competition.​ Three top innovators will be selected and go head-to-head during Eyecelerator @ ASCRS 2024 on April 4 and compete for cash prizes worth up to $25,000!

Finalists get access to industry mentors and networking opportunities, exposure to potential financial resources, and guidance for overcoming early-stage obstacles. 

Submission Deadline: February 2, 2024

About the Winning Pitch Challenge

Industry Mentor Program

  • The Mentor Program comprises 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 Feb. 2, 2024, 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* 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.

Ideal Candidates


  • Ophthalmologist with early-stage concept for how to solve a significant ophthalmic problem

  • Very early-stage ophthalmologist innovator interested in access to:

    • ​Feedback and advice from early-stage investors and successful innovators in ophthalmology

    • Opportunity to win up to $25,000 cash prize — no strings attached

  • ​Has submitted at least a provisional application for patent by the time of The Winning Pitch Challenge's Round 1 deadline — to permit uninhibited public pitch (not mandatory) 

  • Product is generating little to no revenue 

  • MD or PhD is required to present, as the #1 goal of The Winning Pitch Challenge is to inspire ophthalmic innovation by ophthalmologists

Judging Criteria 

  • Magnitude of problem

  • Innovativeness of the proposed solution 

  • Market size, strategy, and potential reimbursement 

  • Competitive analysis 

  • Business model, including requirements 

  • Intellectual property 

  • Team 

  • Clarity of request for investment 

  • Energy of pitch  

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