Category Archives: Innovation Factory

Talk by Karen Grant at next IF Lunch ‘n Learn

karengrantPlease join iF on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 for a unique learning and networking opportunity presented by KPMG. Enjoy a complimentary lunch while Karen Grant, Executive Director of the Angel One Investor Network, presents “What are Angel Investors Looking For?”

It is hard to raise money from strangers as every entrepreneur knows. While there is no magic formula that guarantees success, there are some fundamentals that help. Having helped her angel group members make 53 investments of almost $16 million in under 3 years, Karen will draw on her years of experience and identify the many of important factors involved in obtaining Angel funding.

This session is great for startups or anyone looking to learn a little more about Angel investment.


11:30am-noon – Lunch & Networking

Noon-1pm – Factory 5 and Keynote Presentation

1pm – 2pm – Dessert & Networking (at iF’s Innovation Destination)


Parking Information

Parking is available for a cost of $0.50/ hour at McMaster Innovation Park Special Events and Conference Parking

About Karen Grant

Karen has launched three angel groups: Angel One Investor Network (2011), Northern Ontario Angels (2005) and Toronto Angel Group (2001).

Karen is an entrepreneur, company director, consultant, and mentor. She has founded companies and has worked in the commercialization field for over 20 years. Earlier in her career ran the Toronto Venture Group, working with hundreds of companies that were seeking capital. Karen’s corporate experience includes 12 years with IBM Canada where she had roles in sales, marketing and communications.

Boards and Affiliations:

• The RIC Centre Director 2012 – Present
• Vida Holdings Inc. Director 2012 – Present
• Northern Ontario Angels Board Director 2005 and Chair 2008 – Present

About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory ( is a not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centre, located in Hamilton, ON committed to connecting and enabling active collaboration between the city’s communities of science, business, government, academia and finance to accelerate the innovation process and amplify economic and social impact of key new ideas and discoveries. Funded by the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), we are focused on strengthening the next generation of wealth and jobs generators.

About KPMG

KPMG International’s ( member firms have 140,000 accounting professionals, including more than 7,900 partners, in 146 countries. Their clients include business corporations, governments, and public sector agencies and not-for-profit organizations.


Woodside is your good guide to UX

simonWhere: Innovation Factory @ 175 Longwood Road South (McMaster Innovation Park)

When: Wednesday October 29th from 10:00am – 12:00pm

Join iF on October 29th as Simon Woodside, founder of Monolith, shares lessons-learned from a decade of making smartphone apps.

Simon’s passion is to combine user experience with deep technical excellence, and he will go through his philosophy on strategy, design, coding issues, web vs native, and user testing.

To register please email


Ranggo captures grand prize at Lion’s Lair 2014



Hamilton, Ontario October 6th, 2014: On Thursday October 2nd, Ranggo was named the grand prize winner in Lion’s Lair 2014. In its fourth year, Lion’s Lair is an annual business competition presented by The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Factory. After filtering down all business plans submitted by more than 70 companies, ten companies were selected as finalists. The 10 finalists were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of Hamilton’s top business experts, the “Lions”, for a chance to win over $160,000 in cash and in-kind resources. The sold-out final gala event held on Thursday night at Carmen’s brought together the entrepreneurship and innovation community in Hamilton, Ontario.

Incorporated in Ontario in March 2014, this is not the first business recognition for Ranggo. Earlier in April 2014, Ranggo was again a Top 5 finalist in Halton’s region own business competition, The Python’s Pit. Ranggo was one of 3 companies to receive follow up meetings from the investors, “The Python’s”. During the very short period since its inception,Ranggo has partnered and piloted in multiple local restaurants and food festivals and events in the Hamilton and Burlington area.

Ranggo is an all-in-one feedback, customer retention and acquisition service for restaurants. “We all love to eat and we use our smartphones all the time, especially while sitting on our tables at the restaurant”, said Peter Basl, CEO. “Ranggo allows restaurants to leverage this opportunity by collecting valuable real-time feedback from their patrons and use this feedback to attract more customers through online and social network venues.” Ranggo is collecting feedback down to the menu item level and its innovative business model relies on rewarding its users with instant restaurant coupons and savings. “The overall process brings the customers to the restaurant more often and through the app’s food search engine, new customers can easily find those restaurants serving the best dishes they are craving,” said Noha Abdelaziz, COO. “Ranggo simply creates a win-win situation for both the restaurants and the customers.” Ranggo is a subscription based service for restaurants and its app is free to download for users. “Since July 2014, we have been piloting the service in 10 restaurants in Hamilton and Burlington. The results are amazing. In such a short period of time, Ranggo was able to engage with diners and collect more feedback than any existing service in the market today,” said Mo. Shahin, CTO.

In the Lion’s Lair competition, Ranggo was awarded a total of $25,000 in cash and in-kind services from KPMG, VA Partners and Albanese Branding valued at $27,500. The prize will be used to speed up customer acquisition process as well as further application development. During the Lion’s Lair Gala, the Lions announced the win stating the main reasons behind their choice to be: Ranggo’s strong team, solid business model as well as its potential of global scalability.

Ranggo’s cofounders are Peter Basl, Noha Abdelaziz and Mo Shahin. They are all McMaster University alumni with postgraduate degrees. Peter holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University and currently finishing his Masters in Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation at McMaster too. Noha holds a Masters in Civil Engineering from McMaster, while Mo is a serial entrepreneur who has graduated from McMaster’s Masters of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2008. The team collectively has more than 20 years of experience both on the technical and business levels having worked in leading industry positions as well as co-founded multiple businesses in the past.


For more information on Ranggo, visit

For more information on the Lion’s Lair visit

Ranggo pitch in 1 min:

Contact Details:

Learn about Bitcoin with entrepreneur Lorne Lantz

September 10th @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Free
Innovation Factory

bitcoinLorne Lantz, who buys his lunch everyday with Bitcoin, is a Bitcoin Entrepreneur who has built multiple financial technology startups that were recognized by PayPal and Swift, will share with you the revolutionary technology behind Bitcoin and how it is forcing the world to rethink the way we exchange value.

Lorne’s current startup, CherryPie, is an all in one solution to help merchants accept Bitcoin with limited impact on operational process or staff training.

Lorne is a McMaster DeGroote MBA and a former Lion’s Lair top ten finalist. He’s since been working for companies down in Silicon Valley.

We are very excited to host him on September 10th! Please come out and join us for this noon-time lunch about Bitcoins!

Email to attend!

More on Lorne:

“Lorne gave a nice talk to us here at CA that covered the basics for the uninitiated, and he described his product — a terminal that takes Bitcoin in addition to regular cards, which you can actually use to buy lunch at the Plug and Play center in Sunnyvale… Folks enjoyed it and were considerably enlightened.” (Testimonial from Geoffrey Hird)

Lorne was also featured in a CBC news article.


Lion’s Lair 2014 on October 2nd


When: Thursday October 2nd 2014 from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Where: Carmen’s Banquet Centre @ 1520 Stone Church Road Hamilton, Ontario


Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce are proud to present the fourth annual LiON’S LAIR competition, a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Hamilton!

Join us at the LiON’S LAIR Gala on October 2, 2014 for an exciting event as 10 entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of top Hamilton business experts—the Lions—in an attempt to solicit over $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources.

For more information on LiON’S LAIR, visit for up-to-date information on the finalists and their progression, an in-depth look at this year’s Lions, media information, and other interactive elements.

#HamOnt Wins: Innovation Night Summer Showdown!

Originally posted on


IF_showdownersYes, it’s our third annual Innovation Factory Summer Showdown Pitch contest and held last nite, it was once again a great reminder that our #HamOnt city is in a total renewal phase!

It was my pleasure to accept one of the 3 Judges seats for same and our chore as in other years, was to listen to the 12 pitches from the contestants, then help with our own queries to name the final 2 finalists who’d go “head-to-head” in a 2 minute Pitch-off and the crowd would decide on the overall winner.

Judges for last nites great event were myself, Kevin Browne one of the city’s true leaders in that he’s the guy who created, developed and runs our SoftwareHamilton events like DemoCamp, StartUpWeekends and StartupDrinks too. Tim Richard was our third Judge and Tim is also no stranger to the city as he’s one of the founders over at WeeverApps and has been a past Lion too for our big Lion’s Lair Gala as well.

Between the three of us Judges lies about 75 years of business startup experience and we’ve all “been there – done that” when it comes to pitching so we sat and listened with a real degree of knowledge…and let me tell you, the pitches were for the most part, great!

IF_crowdsAnd the Atrium at MIPs was packed too…with many ‘new’ faces that I’d not seen ever before…seems like the word has spread that if you’re thinking about any kind of innovation in #HamOnt, then MIPs is the place to be!

All kinds of ideas, all degrees of passion, all types of runways lead off for the 12 of the contestants. Some actually have their ideas further along than others, and for some it’s still just an idea. But one thing really stood out…the passion that each brought to their pitch.

We listened….we digested….we talked and worked out our own Judges Finalists and they were the two for us that seemed to be the superior ideas.

One was Helping Hands from Janelle Hinds, a pitch for an online tool for any school to use to monitor their students Community Hours securely, which would prevent any “missing” hours before graduation. Good idea. Nicely pitched. And yes….well worth the finalist short list.

The other was The DogHouse from Jonathan Leszko, a fellow who acknowledged he was using the term as it’s most used by husbands in that when they mess up in their marital relationship we end up “in the doghouse” and his idea was a cellphone app that would help any husband (or wife too for that matter) monitor all of the details of their relationship so they’d never ever forget things like birthdays, anniversaries etc. etc.

And after the second round of pitches and the crowd voting, The Doghouse was the winner and won a brand new digital camera and case! Well done!

Kudos on the whole night to our Innovation Factory, to Dave Carter who MC’d the event, to Emily Kinread their Marketing Mgr who ran the show beautifully and most of all to the 12 contestants who came, presented and obviously enjoyed their whole experience! What a great win for them…and of course for our own #HamOnt too!

Lion’s Lair 2014 finalists announced



Hamilton, Ontario – 10 companies have been selected as finalists for LiON’S LAIR, a competition that offers finalists the chance to pitch their idea to a panel of industry judges—the “Lions”—and solicit over $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources.

“LiON’S LAIR is a fantastic opportunity for Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce to work closely with high-potential companies and reward them for their efforts in entrepreneurship,” stated Keanin Loomis, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Hopeful participants submitted their business plans in April and each plan was evaluated based on the company’s product and commercial viability, ability to execute, and other factors by a panel of independent judges. The judge’s scores were tallied and this year’s top ten finalists are: ASTS, Formarum Inc., The Greenlid, Hangry Solutions Inc., QCumbr, Ranggo, Sound Options, Special Appucations, Tangobits, and VivaCity.

ASTS is a Canadian manufacturer of the RV Chandelier, a LED lighting system for pleasant interior illumination of recreational vehicles, selling directly to RV Manufacturers, RV dealers, and RV aftermarket distributors and dealers.

Formarum Inc. develops novel clean water technologies in an all-in-one self-monitoring device for disinfection of swimming pools and spas, selling to consumers and property managers.

The Greenlid is the first fully compostable organic waste container made from 100% end-of-life recycled pulp paper which eliminates the hassle of leaking plastic bags and compost messes.

Hangry Solutions allows consumers to pre-order and pay for their food or beverages through their smart phone app or web solution, which eliminates waiting in line to pay.

QCumbr provides consumers and health care providers with a way to manage expectations around walk-in clinic wait times through easy-to-use applications available on mobile devices and the web.

Ranggo is a social marketing platform that enables immediate customer feedback for the restaurant industry. The app rewards customers for rating specific menu items.

Sound Options offers customized, effective, and affordable sound therapy treatment for those suffering from Tinnitus, the constant ringing of the ears.

Special Appucations creates interactive educational products that allow children with special needs to learn, practice, and play in any setting. The products are designed using specialized instructional programming and are based on the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).

Tangobits is a mobile application that helps “For-Sale-by-Owners” create property listings using their mobile phones and publish on MLS, social media, and other listing services all at once.

VivaCity is an online service which allows homebuyers and real estate professionals to easily rank and compare houses and neighbourhoods based on their wants and needs.

“This year’s LiON’S LAIR finalists offer a fantastic representation of the diverse businesses we see across our ecosystem,” stated Dave Carter, Executive Director of Innovation Factory. “Over the summer we’ll take them through training sessions to strengthen their skills in pitching, developing a compelling narrative, and handling questions and objections; ultimately preparing them to face the Lions.”

This year’s “Lions” are: Carmela Trombetta (RBC Royal Bank), Blair McKeil (McKeil Marine), Mario Paron (KPMG), Jeff Paikin (New Horizon Homes), and Tonia Jahshan (Steeped Tea).

Each finalist will participate in a pitch session with the “Lions” which will include the entrepreneur’s pitch followed by a question period. The “Lions” ultimately decide which companies receive cash and in-kind service investments from participating sponsors.

The pitch sessions will be filmed at Cable 14 and will be shown at the LiON’S LAIR Gala on October 2, 2014 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre. The “Lions’” investment decisions will be revealed live on stage at the Gala.

For more information on the finalists please visit

About Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

Representing over 1,000 businesses and institutions that employ more than 75,000 people in Hamilton, Ontario, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is the city’s 169 year-old voice of business and thought leader in commerce. In addition to helping provide solutions to the day-to-day challenges of its member businesses, the Hamilton Chamber provides leadership on city building initiatives that are designed to stimulate commerce and increase prosperity in the community.

About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory is the Regional Innovation Centre for Hamilton in the Ontario Network of Excellence, leveraging funding and support from all three levels of government and the city’s top private sector and institutional partners. Our goal is to stimulate economic activity in this city by helping Hamilton businesses embrace the principles of innovation.


For more information, contact:

Emily Kinread
Marketing & Communications Manager, Innovation Factory
905.667.2611 x233 |

Keanin Loomis
President & CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
905.522.1151 x229 |

Innovation Night Showdown this Thursday

When: Thursday June 26th, 2014 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park



Join Innovation Factory on June 26, 2014 for our Innovation Night Showdown and Summer Social! If you haven’t been out to an Innovation Night before, this is a great opportunity to come out and see what it’s all about!

Innovation Night is open to the public and attendees will have the opportunity to observe up to 15 2-minute presentations from local innovators, vote for their favourite pitch, and network while enjoying a delicious dinner!

The Innovation Night Showdown will be held outside in the courtyard at MIP from 6pm to 9pm (weather not permitting, the event will be held indoors at the Atrium@MIP).

The schedule of events is as follows:

6pm – Dinner & networking
7pm – Innovation Night Showdown pitches!
8pm – Post pitch networking




Vote in the Mobile Start App competition



The McMaster W Booth School of Engineering Practice, in partnership with Innovation Factory, conducted a series of events to support start-ups in the mobile application sector called Mobile Start App. This initiative included a Video Pitch Competition where students from the Golden Horseshoe with an app idea have posted 2 minute videos on YouTube.

The winners of the competition will be selected by vote count, and will receive a $1000 cash prize and representation on the McMaster University website and social media.

Check out the video pitch competition entries below and vote on who you think should win!







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