Category Archives: Innovation Factory

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!







Thoughts on the 2014 BiG DiFIZEN of the Year Award!

Originally posted on


carolynnYup, it was last night and I am so so pleased to be able to report that the winner of our #HamOnt Innovation Factory Mark Chamberlain BiG DiFIZEN of the Year Award is Carolynn Reid, of the city’s EcDev Department! KUDOS Carolynn!!!

But wait, there’s more…so much more…and let me remind you that I speak from the “lofty” position of being the innaugural winner of that award back in 2012…and it really may “take one to know one” type of argument here….

And just last year, the Innovation Factory presented the 2013 BiG DiFIZEN of the Year award to our own Kevin Browne, who they described by saying “it is truly great to see how many people really want to be a contributing part of Hamilton’s Innovative Community, but with everything he has done, Kevin Browne is truly a grass-roots supporter of innovation in Hamilton.”

And last night our 2014 BiG DiFIZEN of the Year trophy was presented to Carolynn Reid….who tweeted the following right after same -




Carolynn Reid is a well known #HamOnt figure, and her resume would show that she has done much here to push/promote/expose our city to the world in the hopes of building up the renaissance of our community. She has in her past, run our own SBEC for years…she has a BComm from our own McMaster University, she has EcDev knowledge from both the CEdC and University of Waterloo and yes, she know how to “develop” our own #HamOnt.

And she’s everywhere. Every place I go to help build my #HamOnt community, she’s there. I turn around and yup, she’s over there chatting to that startup about the city and then later at a meeting she’s contributing her own take on community building and why it’s so dang important.

I travel all over #HamOnt, and she’s there….and if you know me you know I attend about as much as I can – and so does she. It’s her ability to take on the task of promoting the city via her engagement with owners, founders, folks looking to invest, firms thinking about moving….it’s a wide broad mandate I know…but she does it well.

Very well and yes, her abilities are mirrored throughout the whole city EcDev Department….they all think alike which is a damn fine thing for our city.

So last night, Mark Chamberlain took the stage at the annual Innovation Factory BiG DiF gala event, and announced the winner of the 2014 BiG DiFIZEN of the Year Award, and called Carolynn up to the stage to accept same. She was surprised, but that’s not unusual…we all were….but more than that, she reminded us about the “state of the city” and how we all were working towards the same end…the success of #HamOnt!


Could there be anything better either, than the challenge from Dave Carter our Innovation Factory leader, that for 2015, the next BiG DiFIZEN of the Year was something we should all be aiming at being….and the cheer from the crowd was a great thing to hear…

A great night for #HamOnt…a great gala and yes, truly a great winner….hat’s off to Mark Chamberlain himself for his leadership in getting the city moving towards it’s renewal and to our Innovation Factory for their sheparding of same….we truly do live in a great community…and judging by our latest DiFIZEN of the Year, it’s only going to be that much better, eh!

Lion’s Lair returns in 2014

lionslairHamilton, ON (March 19, 2014) – Innovation Factory and The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce announced today that they are accepting applications for the 2014 LiON’S LAIR competition.

Entrepreneurs interested in submitting a business plan for consideration are invited to a Pre-Submission Workshop on Wednesday, April 2 from 6pm-9pm (to register visit:

The online application deadline is April 30, 2014. Full event terms and conditions, application form and directions can be found at the LiON’S LAIR website at

The fourth annual LiON’S LAIR competition will provide 10 companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of top business experts, the “Lions,” to solicit over $100,000 in cash and professional resources.

Last years’ winners, RZR Skate Blades, Schopf Innovations (maker of The Wedgie), Trend Trunk and Walkbug, each took home a portion of the $152,000 prize, awarded by the Lions: Carmela Trombetta (RBC), Paul Lee-Chin (Manulife Securities), Mike Morreale (CFL Players’ Association), Tim Richard (Weever Apps), and Blair McKeil (McKeil Marine).

“Participating in the LiON’S LAIR competition was very beneficial to our business – it not only helped us develop an effective pitch, but offered exposure to the entire community,” stated Chris Verticchio, Owner & Director of Operations for RZR Skate Blades, the grand prize winner of the 2013 competition. “The ongoing support we’ve received since the competition has been phenomenal as well.”

The applications received will be evaluated by a panel of independent judges who will select 10 companies to advance and participate in training sessions throughout the summer. These sessions have been designed to help the finalists prepare their pitch to face the “Lions” in a television studio environment. Clips from the taping will be shown at the competition’s final gala event on October 2, 2014 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre, where the winners will be announced live onstage.

Last years’ final event attracted over 450 of Hamilton’s startup and small business supporters.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing this competition back again. Every year we see so many new startups all vying for a spot in top ten,” stated David Carter, Executive Director at Innovation Factory. “It is also amazing to see the entire community rally around the future success of these startups.”

Finalists that didn’t take home a portion of the prize package still found great value in the overall experience.

“From our participation in the last LiON’S LAIR, I would encourage any startup looking to develop their knowledge and their business to apply,” stated James Henry, co-founder of PainQuILT in the 2013 LiON’S LAIR. ”Even though we didn’t end up with a prize, the journey, with training and exposure to business leaders, was fantastic.”

About The 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.

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