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SLAS Ignite Award


The SLAS Ignite Award recognizes the best start-up or emerging company exhibiting within Innovation AveNEW, a specially designated area within the Exhibition.

Companies selected to exhibit within Innovation AveNEW, and who opt-in to compete for the SLAS Ignite Award, will be judged by an SLAS panel on a combination of key concepts, including their marketing plan, market presence and potential; funding prospects; plan for growth and the existence of a balanced company leadership, among other qualities.

The inaugural award was presented at SLAS2019 to SEED Biosciences (Switzerland) for their revolutionary pipette that allows scientists to view single cells at a single cell resolution. Along with being named the first-ever SLAS Ignite Award winner, SEED Biosciences received a $5,000 cash prize.

Ignite 1

Ignite 1

Listen to Scientific Director Mike Tarselli’s interview with SEED Bioscience’s Georges Mueller.

View Innovation AveNEW Program Details.

Competition Guidelines and Process

All Innovation AveNEW participating companies are invited to participate in the SLAS Ignite Award judging process and are allowed to opt-out of award consideration.

Evaluation Guidelines and Judging Process

Judging will take place Monday, January 27 and Tuesday, January 28 in the Innovation AveNEW area and in the Exhibition Theater. The competing companies will also make a brief presentation in the Exhibition Theater on Monday, January 27 or Tuesday, January 28, times TBD. The award winner will be announced at the Closing Keynote Session on Wednesday, January 29.

A panel of judges will visit the booths and meet with each company’s representative. There may be more than one group of judges visiting the booth during exhibition hours.

There must always be AT LEAST ONE person at the booth during the judging period who can discuss the company’s mission with the judges.

Judging will be based on:

Presentation (at booth)

  • Was the company representative able to speak to the product/technology comfortably and clearly?
  • Was the marketing, web/social media presence clear and evident?
  • Did the company have flyers, handouts?
  • Could the product or service be clearly demonstrated?

Presentation (in Exhibition Theater)

  • Did the company representative explain the key concept(s) well?
  • Did the company representative provide the correct amount of background information so that the audience could understand the trajectory of the company from inception?

Market Impact

  • Is the market potential evident (extreme niche/niche/moderate/large)?
  • Does the company have a clear competitive advantage and is the product/technology significantly better than currently available or potentially competing technologies?
  • Is the proposed product/technology highly innovative?
  • Does the product/technology have the potential to address a currently unmet need?
  • Where does next round of funding come from, or is it projected to generate income?
  • Is there a plan for growth, expansion or sale?
  • Is the company leadership a balance of business and science professionals?

Scoring Criteria

The judging panel’s decision will be based on a series of criteria (in no order of significance) evaluated through presentations at the company’s booth and in the Exhibition Theater:

  • Marketing Presence
  • Compelling Message and Market Opportunity
  • Impact
  • Potential
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Level of Innovation
  • Addresses an Unmet Need
  • Funding Sources, Plan for Growth
  • Leadership Stability and Diversity

Scoring System

5-to-1 Rating Scale:

5 — Outstanding, Novel and Broad Impact for a New Product
4 — Very Good, Solid, Novel Product
3 — Some Unique New Product Qualities
2 — Needs More Proof and Development
1 — Not Substantially New or Improved
0 — Not New at All


All companies who are chosen to exhibit in Innovation AveNEW are eligible to compete for the SLAS Ignite Award. Innovation AveNEW companies must align in some fashion with the area of life sciences and technology, and while it is not required, an established relationship with a university, bioscience incubator, or research institution is preferable. The company’s products and/or services must be available for sale/distribution in the year of their conference participation.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, national origin, ethnicity, veteran status or disability in regard to the SLAS Ignite Award designation is prohibited. Each candidate company shall be evaluated based on the award's criteria, which are tied to SLAS's purpose of advancing the science and education through technology in the laboratory.


SLAS reserves the right to select and deselect any company at any given time. All decisions are final.


Contact Elizabeth Frank, Program Manager
+1.630.256.SLAS (7527) ext 102


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