Innovation Factory

Lions Lair 2017 top ten finalists announced


Original article is on


As part of the seventh annual LiON’S LAIR competition, 15 startup businesses spent their summer with Innovation Factory to develop their pitch and media relations skills.

After a head-to-head mini pitch competition, Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the top 10 companies who will move on to face the Lions with a 15-minute pitch filmed on Cable 14.

Aiva LabsBridesMadeDash MDDolled Up DessertsGene Blueprinthealthypets.ioHiNT NeuroLumagoNanophyll, and Oneiric Hockey will all get that opportunity.

“Our top 10 is truly representative of the economic diversity and growth that Hamilton and the surrounding area has experienced since the competition’s inception,” said David Carter, Executive Director at Innovation Factory. “We can see a wide range of industries and products represented, and for the first time, the majority of our finalist companies are led by female founders and co-founders. It’s exciting to see the competition reflect larger, positive trends in entrepreneurship.”

The 10 finalists will now compete for over $160,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. The winners will be announced live at the LiON’S LAIR gala September 27 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre.

Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce are pleased to collaborate with local organizations and businesses in providing prizing and event support. The competition would not be possible without the support of these generous partners.

Tickets to the gala will go on sale mid-August and will be available at This event sells out every year, so stay tuned for upcoming announcements.


Check out the pitch from Aiva Labs below and the rest on YouTube.



The Big DiF open house this Thursday


When: Thursday May 11th 2017 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park at 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)



Please join iF on Thursday, May 11, 2017 for The Big DiF!

The Big DiF is Innovation Factory’s annual open house and client showcase.

The aim is to bring together the Hamilton community (and Hamilton supporters) to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation in our city, as well as recognize our partners who help make what we do at iF possible. We also use this as an opportunity to recognize one person who goes above and beyond for the community – an award we call the Mark Chamberlain DiFizen of the Year Award.

Join us for an evening of celebration! Network with our ecosystem and meet some of our up-and-coming innovators!

About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory is a not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centre, located in Hamilton, ON. We are 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.


Click and convert sales p2p this Wednesday

When: Wednesday April 12th from 8:00am – 10:00am

Where: Innovation Factory at 175 Longwood Road South

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)



Innovation Factory’s Sales Peer2Peer sessions are great opportunities for business professionals from all industries and companies to interact with each other, share best practices, and network with peers!

This month’s topic: Click & Convert – How to use Paid Search to get More Leads!

Presenter: Robert Clarke

Innovation Factory’s April Sales Peer2Peer will be presented by Robert Clarke. Robert is the Managing Director at Op Ed Marketing, a Google Partner Agency that helps B2B Businesses attract, convert, and keep customers.

In this workshop, we’ll cover the main paid search channels (Google AdWords, Linkedin, Facebook Ads) for generating leads, as well as the fundamental principles of Website Conversion Optimization (CRO).

Tickets are limited so register today!

Your entry to this event constitutes implied consent to be photographed and to have those photos published.

IF Lunch ‘n Learn: Crafting your Unique Business Story

When: Wednesday March 22nd 2017 from 11:30am – 1:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park at 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)



Please join us on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 for Crafting your Unique Business Story. Innovation Factory’s March Lunch ‘n Learn presents Joe Frank of Freytag Frank, offering data-driven storytelling and creative communication.

Learn to craft your data-driven success story to benefit your business and bottom line!

Stories matter and your business is founded on a great one. A memorable, well told, and sharable story is an important element of your business toolkit. It can attract new customers, inspire employees, or win partners and investors.

Join Joe Frank in this interactive workshop that will help you develop and improve your organizational storytelling.


11:30am-noon – Lunch & Networking
Noon-1pm – Keynote Presentation
1pm – 2pm – Dessert & Networking


Sean Licata of VIZIYA talks sales tomorrow

When: Wednesday February 8th 2017 from 8:00am to 10:00am

Where: Innovation Factory at 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)


February’s Sales Peer2Peer session will be led by Sean Licata. Join us to hear him speak on the enterprise sales and marketing strategies that VIZIYA used to grow to the Hamilton technology leader to what it is today. Sean will cover tactics, strategies, CRM, marketing automation, and tools used by VIZIYA.

Sean Licata is the VP of Marketing & Business Development at VIZIYA. He will be discussing how VIZIYA grew from inception into a Hamilton based technology success story with more than 55,000 users at 850 sites around the globe. VIZIYA has been Listed in Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies for the Profit 500 as well as recognized with the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 four years in a row. Sean has been in Sales and Marketing roles for over 25 years at Nortel, Sun, Pictorvision, Trivaris, and other Canadian technology leaders.


Tech lessons for non-tech entrepreneurs


When: Tuesday January 24th 2017 from 11:30am – 1:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park (Conference rooms 1ABCD) at 175 Longwood Road South

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)

Cost: $10 general admission, $5 student or IF client



Please join us on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 for a Lunch ‘n Learn on Tech Lessons for Non-technical Entrepreneurs presented by our own Executive Director here at Innovation Factory, David Carter!

Technology is now so accessible that it’s easy to come up with an idea for an innovation and simply hire developers to execute your vision. As a result, non-tech founders are starting tech companies more than ever, and within corporations, department managers are upping their tech game by launching apps and cloud software to offer to their customers.

Of course you can recruit a technical co-founder, you can outsource, and you can hire a staff of developers. The problem arises in how you communicate that vision to them.

In this session, David will talk about how to document your product in a way that removes ambiguity for your tech team and sets the proper milestones and testing procedures. With that, both sides can agree on what needs to be accomplished and when a feature is deemed “done”. He’ll discuss how to iterate on your application design before you pay to have a single line of code written, and about how to mock up your vision and gain the support of your future customers and even pre-sell your product.


11:30am-noon – Lunch & Networking
Noon-1pm – Factory 5 (TBA) and Keynote Presentation (David Carter)
1pm – 2pm – Dessert & Networking (at iF’s Innovation Destination)

About David Carter

David Carter is the Executive Director of the Innovation Factory (iF). iF is Hamilton’s Regional Innovation Centre with the mandate to be a catalyst for innovation in Hamilton. Appropriately, David’s career has been working in innovation since he joined the workforce. It started as a consultant in the burgeoning personal computer industry and then as an International Markets Analyst Toronto Stock Exchange in the late 80’s. At Microsoft he worked through the revolution in desktop computing and the internet in the 90s. In 2001, after 11 years at Microsoft he decided to start his own company. From 2001 until 2012 he and his partner took their start-up from a small office in Burlington, to a Boston based firm raising $20 million in venture capital. Carter is thrilled to support today’s entrepreneurs in Hamilton and to be a part of the larger Hamilton ecosystem.

Sales P2P – Planning for the New Year


When: Wednesday December 14th 2016 from 8:00am to 10:00am

Where: McMaster Innovation Park at 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)



New year, new sales strategy!

Join us for an interactive Sales Peer2Peer session Wednesday December 14 on Sales Planning for the New Year with Mark Elliott of Venture Accelerator Partners!

This interactive session will cover the creation of a sales plan around customers, prospects, offerings, people, forecasting, aligning sales and marketing, and creating a plan with goals.

It will be led by Mark Elliott, the cofounder of Venture Accelerator Partners. VA Partners has been in business for over 10 years and provides sales and marketing services to over 100 growing organizations. 

Tickets are limited so register today!

Nix Sensor wins Lion’s Lair 2016


Nix Sensor (@NixSensor) took home the $65,000 top prize in cash and services at Lion’s Lair this week! Nix also won the “people’s choice” award, marking the first time that the attendees agreed with the lion’s (i.e. judges). Nix created a real-life PhotoShop colour eyedropper tool – just tap it on a surface, and it returns the colour of that surface!

Startup competition Lion’s Liar entered its 6th year with a line-up of startup companies markedly stronger than earlier iterations, showcasing the growth of the community. The finalists were well beyond “the idea” stage and were citing traction in terms of number of users, revenue, employee counts and funding received.

The Nix team’s prizes include: $15,000 in cash from: Cogeco, Mohawk College, McMaster University, RBC, McMaster Innovation Park and Meridian Financial Credit Union; $10,000 from VA Partners for Sales/Lead Generation consulting; $10,000 from Marketing CoPilot for SEO/Content Marketing assistance; $10,000 from Fresh Insights for market research; $10,000 from Biz Clip for photography and video development and an additional $10,000 from Communica for business coaching.

Nix started up in 2014 with a successful $70k crowdfunding campaign and has been a leader in the local tech startup scene ever since. Nix Sensor founder Matthew Sheridan cites his experience with the McMaster solar car project as vital, “The textbook skills aren’t going to help you in the real world,” he says, “but managing people on a team, raising funds from donors, figuring out how to run marketing campaigns and working 24/7 in the basement of the engineering building are all good lessons on how entrepreneurship works.””

Other winners included Nuts for Cheese, Laifa Baby, and 180 Drums.


Lunch ‘n Learn with Rover CEO John Combs



When: Tuesday September 20th 2016 from 11:30am to 1:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park @ 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)

Cost: $10 General, $5 IF/Forge client or student



Please join Innovation Factory and The Forge on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 for a joint Lunch ‘n Learn session featuring John Coombs of Rover!

John is the CEO of Rover, a rapidly growing startup focused on location-powered mobile engagement. At our session, John will share firsthand knowledge on how to compete with large enterprises as a startup, and also touch on his experience as part of the 500 Startups accelerator in San Fransisco and his fundraising journey that raised over $1.1M for Rover this past year.


This is a can’t-miss opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups to hear a success story that’s close to home – a young, Canadian founder who’s a great example of making opportunities pay off and who will speak candidly about his entrepreneurial experience.


Rover is a mobile engagement platform that leverages iBeacon and Geofence technology to connect marketers with their customers at the right time. The platform serves hundreds of locations, in a number of key sectors including professional sports, retail, loyalty and tourism. As a leader in proximity marketing, Rover compliments the platform with industry insights and comprehensive campaign support. Customers are guided from pilot to full-scale rollout, ensuring they achieve a positive ROI from this powerful channel.


11:30am-noon – Lunch & Networking
Noon-1pm – Factory 5 (TBD) and Keynote Presentation (John Coombs)
1pm-2pm – Dessert & Networking (at iF’s Innovation Destination)

Lunch ‘n Learn sessions are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a catered lunch and learning something new! Please forward this to all of the innovators you know.