VSP Vision and MATTER Launch First Innovation Challenge

VSP Vision and MATTER Launch First Innovation Challenge

MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, and VSP Vision™, the leader in delivering access to health-focused vision care, announce the launch of the first VSP Vision Innovation Challenge, a global competition that seeks to explore solutions to enhance the patient experience in eye care. Up to five startups will be selected to advance their solutions with key industry stakeholders and pitch their innovations for the chance to win up to $10,000.

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Challenge statement

How might we enhance the eye care patient experience?

This challenge is open to solutions that address one or more of the following tracks:

Track 1: Empowering patients
Does your solution enable patients to proactively manage their eye health?
E.g. Find-a-provider apps, symptom checkers, digital therapeutics, patient education

Track 2: Scaling access
Does your solution increase patient and provider access to novel eye care solutions and experiences?
E.g. NEMT-for-optometry, portable and handheld devices, smart eyewear or wearables, care navigation

Track three: Elevating care
Does your solution aid optometrists in providing an elevated patient experience?
E.g., Dr. co-pilots, ambient medical scribes, AI-enabled disease detection, audiology integration


A comprehensive eye exam offers a patient more than a diagnosis of eye health. In fact, the eye is a non-invasive window into full-body health, providing valuable insights on more than 270 systemic and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

While 8 in 10 people (84 percent) rate vision as the most important sense — and nearly everyone (97 percent) agrees that having healthy eyes is important — only half of people schedule an annual eye exam1.

Chronic vision conditions are also on the rise. In 2022, more than eight million Americans reported a vision disability, a 28 percent increase since 20102. And experts anticipate that common eye diseases, like glaucoma, will be twice as high in 2050 compared to 20103.

As the inevitable demand for vision care accelerates, so too will the need to transform and enhance the eye care experience.

VSP Vision™ and MATTER are launching the VSP Vision Innovation Challenge to:

  • Source and support technologies and innovations that are further underscoring the role that vision care plays in a person’s ability to be and stay healthy
  • Identify solutions that can improve a patient’s access to and engagement with eye care
  • Tap into the healthcare innovation ecosystem to uncover novel new tools and software that can elevate eye care patient and provider outcomes and experiences

Challenge Timeline:

  • April 15, 2024: Applications open for the VSP Vision Innovation Challenge
  • June 7, 2024: Applications close
  • June 28, 2024: 5 finalists are selected and notified; Cohort is announced
  • July 15–August 9, 2024: Finalists participate in a 4-week startup bootcamp to enhance and refine their pitch
  • August 15, 2024: Finalists present their solutions at the final showcase in person in Chicago, Illinois for a chance at cash awards and more
    • First place: $10,000
    • Second place: $5,000
    • Audience choice award: $5,000
    • First, second and audience choice awards: A free, 12-month MATTER membership, including access to a digital curriculum and professional services directory, a member Slack channel, MATTER’s community of venture partners, exclusive roundtables and more.

Benefits of participation:

  • Opportunity to compete for cash awards ($5,000-$10,000)
  • Ability to pitch potential investors, partners and clients
  • Mentorship from industry leaders and subject matter experts
  • Access to VSP Vision leadership and MATTER community
  • Dedicated pitch support and access to immersive workshops tailored for healthcare innovators
  • Networking with other cutting-edge startups

Who should apply:

  • Vision care startups and technologies with solutions addressing one or all of the above tracks
  • Non-vision care startups and technologies with a compelling use case for enhancing the eye care experience, whether that’s by empowering patients, scaling access to eye care, or strengthening the bond between eye care and general health
  • Startups and technologies with a connection to a trend in VSP® ‘Future Eye: 10 Vision Trends Transforming Healthcare’ report, such as a digital therapeutic addressing myopia or smart eyewear with built-in health tracking


While applicants can be early-stage or mature, a student startup or corporate spin-off, the solution must be past the idea phase. Submissions will be evaluated with the following criteria:

  • Alignment and focus: Relevance to the challenge statement, tracks or ‘Future Eye’ trends
  • Novelty and originality: Differentiation of product within the competitive landscape; are there unique technical features or positioning?
  • Business model: Articulation of value proposition, cost structure, key resources, customer discovery and validation (marketability, market size)
  • Company traction: Ability to cite customers, partnerships, prototypes, pilots or trial data
  • Team readiness: Ability and experience of team to scale and execute the solution

See the full Terms and Conditions.


  1. Surprising Eye Health Stats”, VSP Vision Care and YouGov Research Study, 2020.
  2. American Community Survey – Disability Characteristics,” U.S. Census Bureau, 2022.
  3. The Most Common Eye Diseases: NIH Looks Ahead,” National Institutes for Health, National Eye Institute, 2023.


Discover more about MATTER:


MATTER believes collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 1,000 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together they are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.


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