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Workshop on Photonic Startups and Entrepreneurship

Details are subject to change.

  • Organiser

    Erik Pennings, 7 Pennies Consulting, USA

  • Day & Time

    20.09.2022, 17:30 – 19:00

  • Location

    Room Kairo

  • Description

    The photonics industry continues to be a dynamic market in which innovation takes place at a breathtaking pace. And much of this innovation is driven by startup companies.

    While many people like to start a company and many admire the startups that made it big, the process of starting company can be challenging.
    The aim of this workshop is to provide practical guidelines and do's and don'ts by featuring a number of seasoned entrepreneurs who tell their story. The focus of the presentations is to share key insights and lessons learned that are useful for any entrepreneur wanting to start a company or develop a new business.

    The workshop concludes with a panel session with ample room for questions and answers.

    This startup workshop will be the 9th edition and it has been held in conjunction with either ECOC or OFC. Handouts of previous startup workshops including all presentations can be found on

  • Organiser & Speaker
    TolgaTekin Organiser & Speaker: Erik Pennings, GM and Principal, 7 Pennies Consulting, USA
    Biography: Erik Pennings is the General Manager and Principal of 7 Pennies Consulting (, which he founded in 2009 with the mission to help companies grow revenues through introducing new products or expanding into new markets. Throughout his career, Erik has been able to take a product from the initial idea, get it developed, introduce it to the market, and lead it to multimillion dollar revenues. And many companies supported by 7 Pennies experienced brisk growth and/or were successfully acquired. Erik says: “Our economy depends on people who come up with new inventions or ideas for innovative products or services and have the drive to bring them to the market. Having invented new technologies and having brought them successfully to the market myself, I very much enjoy working with entrepreneurs in order to help them reach their business goals”. Prior to founding 7 Pennies Consulting, Erik worked for over 20 years in executive sales, marketing, product management, R&D, and consulting roles at companies such as Philips, JDSU (now Lumentum), CyOptics (now Broadcom), and Eudyna (now Sumitomo). Erik has a MSc degree (Cum Laude) in Physcis, a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering, and Executive MBA degrees from Simon Business School as well as Nyenrode Business University.
  • Speakers
    TolgaTekin Speaker 1: Peter Winzer, Founder, Nubis Communications, USA
    Title: From Big-corporate R&D to a VC Funded Start-up: Some Experiences
     Peter J. Winzer received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria, and from 2000 through 2019 worked at Bell Labs in NJ, where performed research on fiber-optic communication systems and networks, set multiple high-speed optical transmission records, and contributed to optical communications product developments. Following his involvement in estimating the optical fiber Shannon capacity, he investigated space-division multiplexing (SDM) to scale optical transport systems. In 2020 he founded the start-up Nubis Communications. Dr. Winzer has widely published and patented and is actively involved with the IEEE and with Optica. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Lightwave Technology (2013 to 2018), was Program Chair of ECOC 2009, and Program/General Chair of OFC 2015/2017. A Highly Cited Researcher, Bell Labs Fellow, Fellow of the IEEE and Optica, and an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering, he received multiple recognitions for his work, including the John Tyndall Award and an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Eindhoven.
    TolgaTekin Speaker 2: Claudia Hoessbacher, Co-founder & CEO, Polariton Technologies AG, Switzerland
    Title: Commercializing Science - Turning from Lab to Business Experiments
     Claudia has always been fascinated by light. After her B.Sc degree in Electrical Engineering at KIT, Germany, the Master program in “Optics and Photonics” stimulated her interest in the interaction of light with smallest structures. Following this interest, she researched integrated photonics, plasmonics and electro-optics during her PhD at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. In 2019, she was awarded the ETH Pioneer Fellowship to transfer her research project into innovative products and co-founded Polariton Technologies. Polariton is on a mission to accelerate information transport and reduce its power consumption by providing the world’s fastest, smallest, and energy-efficient electro-optic devices.
    TolgaTekin Speaker 3: Bardia Pezeshki, CEO, AvicenaTech Corp.,, USA
    TItle: The challenges and pitfalls of VC funded optical start-ups - a view from the Man in the Arena
    Biography: Bardia Pezeshki received his Ph.D. from Stanford, and has led research at IBM T.J. Watson center, SDL, and other places. He is a serial entrepreneur, and has generated, developed, and commercialized optoelectronic technology that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. The tunable laser developed at his first start-up Santur carried a majority of the world's long-haul internet traffic, while at his second startup Kaiam, he helped develop the first practical multiwavelength high bandwidth optical transceiver at 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s, serving the majority of the big datacenter customers. His latest start-up, Avicena, aims to solve the chip-to-chip data bottleneck using visible wavelength microLEDs.
    TolgaTekin Speaker 4: Tristan Rousselle, Founder (2014) & Deputy CEO, Aryballe, France
    TItle: Bio, Photonics & Entrepreneurship: From Science Fiction to Science and Products Sales
    Biography: Soon after finishing is PhD in the domain of Cell and Molecular Biology, Tristan created a first Biotech company (PX Therapeutics) in 2000. This first start-up developed to a level where it exceed 50 employees and was then sold to a pharmaceutical company in 2012. In 2013, in collaboration with the CEA Grenoble and a group of experienced technologist and entrepreneurs, he launched a new deep tech project at the interface of Nanotech, Biotech and advanced data analytics technologies. This initiative gave rise to the creation of Aryballe (2014) which is developing a very original Bio Sensor applied to the analysis of smells. NeOse, the first product of the company is the first portable and universal odor sensor and is used by different industries from Food and Cosmetics to Automotive, Consumer Electronics and Health. The company has raised more than 20 M€ and is now the leader of the nascent industry of Digital Olfaction. In parallel, Tristan has been involved in the creation and development of several start-ups