VSP Vision and MATTER Launch First Innovation Challenge

Up to five startups will be selected to participate in four-week bootcamp with the chance to win up to $10K

April 15, 2024, CHICAGO, IL, and RANCHO CORDOVA, CA — 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.

The competition is co-hosted by MATTER and the VSP® Vision Global Innovation Center (GIC), the hub where VSP Vision explores new ways eye care and eyewear are delivered to the world through emerging technologies, new business exploration, and strategic connections within the innovation ecosystem.

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 schedule an annual eye exam. Chronic vision conditions are also on the rise. In 2022, more than eight million Americans reported a vision disability, a 28 percent increase since 2010. And experts anticipate that common eye diseases, like glaucoma, will be twice as high in 2050 compared to 2010.

As the inevitable need for vision care accelerates, so too does the demand from patients for improved technology, interactions, and experiences with the healthcare system. In fact, research from the VSP Global Innovation Center pinpoints the exact ways consumer and patients are expecting companies and providers to uplevel their offerings as it relates to health and wellness.

“The eye is a window into overall health and wellness, providing patients with data points beyond a prescription,” said Ruth Yomtoubian, Senior Director of the VSP Vision Global Innovation Center. “Our role is to encourage innovators to direct their talents and technologies towards vision care, a critical touchpoint in the healthcare continuum. That’s why we’re seeking solutions that can increase access to care, enable patients to proactively manage their eye health, and aid optometrists in providing elevated patient experiences.”

Toward this goal, VSP Vision and MATTER are calling on innovators to submit their solutions that address one or more tracks for enhancing patients’ eye care experience: Empowering Patients, Scaling Access or Elevating Care. Up to five finalists will be selected from the candidate pool to receive expert mentorship and exclusive resources to build their solutions and refine their value propositions, as well as pitch their solutions at a final showcase in August 2024 for the chance to win up to $10,000.

“The integration of new technologies can help further improve the quality of vision care which will be especially needed as the population of patients who need care grows,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER. “We’ve partnered with VSP Vision to accelerate the development of the leading startups who can help the eye care industry further empower patients, support providers and enhance accessibility.”

For more information and to apply, please visit the VSP Vision Innovation Challenge website.

At MATTER, we believe 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 we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit matter.health and follow @MATTERhealth.

About VSP Vision
At VSP Vision, our purpose is to empower human potential through sight. As the first national not-for-profit vision benefits company, this is what drives everything we do. For nearly 70 years, VSP has been the leader in health-focused vision care. Every day, the people that power our complementary businesses—VSP® Vision Care, Marchon Eyewear, Inc., Visionworks®, Eyefinity®, Eyeconic, VSP® Optics, and VSP® Ventures—work together to create a world where everyone can bring their best vision to life. That means providing affordable access to eye care and eyewear for more than 85 million members through a network of more than 41,000 doctors. It also means expanding access to vision care to those disadvantaged by income, distance, or disaster through VSP Vision™ Eyes of Hope®. To date, more than 3.8 million people in need have received access to no-cost eye care and eyewear through one of our Eyes of Hope programs. Learn more about how we’re reinvesting in greater vision, health, and opportunities for all at vspvision.com.