Lion’s Lair

Lions Lair 2017 top ten finalists announced

 

Original article is on lionslair.ca

 

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 Labs, BridesMade, Dash MD, Dolled Up Desserts, Gene Blueprint, healthypets.io, HiNT Neuro, Lumago, Nanophyll, 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 lionslair.ca. 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.

 

 

Nix Sensor wins Lion’s Lair 2016

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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.

 

Lion’s Lair 2016 top 10 startups announced

Originally posted on lionslair.ca

 

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As part of the sixth annual LiON’S LAIR competition, 15 companies took part in pitch and media relations training this summer at Innovation Factory and The Hamilton Spectator.

The next phase in the competition has begun, with the announcement of the top 10 companies who will move on to face the LiONS with a 15-minute pitch filmed at Cable 14.

180 Drums, Caddle, GoWrench Auto, Laifa Baby, Nix Sensor Ltd., Nuts for Cheese, Suncayr, Tasytt, TopSpin360 and Tron-Club will all get that opportunity – congratulations!

“With five of the 10 finalists being clients of The Forge, this finalist group represents a really strong showing for our campus-linked accelerator,” said David Carter, Executive Director at Innovation Factory.

The 10 finalists will compete for over $160,000 in cash and in-kind prizes although they won’t know the results until the gala on September 29 at Carmen’s when the winners are announced live.

In addition, the LiONS will give out a new award – $2,000 cash – this year to celebrate one of the up and coming Hamilton businesses in the field. In recent years, LiON’S LAIR was opened up to entrepreneurs outside the Hamilton area as a way of promoting what the city has to offer. This new award brings the competition back to its roots and highlights a locally-grown business.

Tickets to the gala are on sale now at lionslair.ca/tickets. This event sells out every year so be sure to get yours today!

15 finalists announced for 6th annual LiON’S LAIR competition

 

Originally posted on lionslair.ca

 

Fifteen companies have been selected as finalists for the 2016 LiON’S LAIR competition, which offers entrepreneurs 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.

Hopeful participants submitted their business plans in late April. Throughout May, each plan was evaluated during two separate rounds of judging, based on each company’s product, commercial viability, ability to execute, and other factors. This year’s top fifteen finalists are: 180 Drums, Bruha, Caddle, Doppelmove, Dymaxia, GoWrench, HiNT, Laifa Baby, Nix Color Sensor, Nuts for Cheese, Suncayr, Tasytt, TopSpin360, Tron Club, and UpWeeGo. You can read all about them here!

Over the summer, finalists will go through valuable training to strengthen their skills in pitching, developing and telling a compelling story, handling questions and objections, and presenting their business to the media as preparation for facing the Lions in August.

After one more round of eliminations in July, ten finalists 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 by Cable 14 and will be shown at the LiON’S LAIR Gala on September 29, 2016 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre. The Lions’ investment decisions will be revealed live on stage at the Gala.

The 2016 Lions are: Mario Paron (KPMG), Tonia Jahshan (Steeped Tea), Julie Ellis (Mabel’s Labels), Cheri Chevalier (Microsoft Canada), and Michael Macaluso (CARSTAR North America) –  read the Lions’ full bios here.

LiONʼS LAIR gala tickets will be on sale starting July 18 at lionslair.ca!

 

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Lions announced for 2016 LiON’S LAIR competition

Originally posted on LionsLair.ca

 

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The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Factory are excited to announce the five Lions for the 2016 LiON’S LAIR Pitch Competition. For the first time, the panel features three women – including two well-known Hamilton entrepreneurs. Four Lions from the 2015 contest are returning: Mario Paron (KPMG), Michael Macaluso (CARSTAR), Cheri Chevalier (Microsoft) and Tonia Jahshan (Steeped Tea). Julie Ellis (co-founder Mabel’s Labels) is new to the Lair this year.

“With the recent naming of Tonia Jahshan as Canadian Business’ Top Female Entrepreneur, and Julie Ellis coming from Mabel’s Labels who were just acquired for $12M, we have Hamilton’s female entrepreneurs incredibly well represented. Women entrepreneurs are a fast-growing segment in Canada’s economy and we’re thrilled to be representing that with this year’s panel,” says David Carter, Executive Director at Innovation Factory.

Dr. Nick Bontis, award-winning business professor at McMaster University, will also return as the event emcee. “It says a lot about this event and what if offers the entrepreneur ecosystem that we have so many of Hamilton’s key business figures coming back to participate, year after year, “ adds Carter.

Applications for the competition closed April 29. The 35 companies who applied are waiting to hear whether or not they made it through two tough rounds of business plan judging to be part of the top 15 start-ups who will go through summer training. The first 15 finalists will be announced during the first week of June. In August, five more companies will be eliminated and 10 finalists will win the opportunity to pitch to the Lions for the chance to take home over $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizing.

Winners will be revealed at the September 29 gala event at Carmen’s Banquet Centre. Tickets go on sale in mid-July – check back for details!

 

Lion’s Lair 2016 open for applications

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Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF) is back with Lion’s Lair in 2016 – check out their application opening announcement below!


We’re excited to announce that applications for the sixth annual LiON’S LAIR competition will officially be open from March 21 – April 29, 2016!

For those less familiar with the competition, LiONʼS LAIR brings together the entrepreneurial community in Hamilton, giving 10 companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of our city’s top business experts – the “Lions” – for a chance to win over $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources. The first LiON’S LAIR took place in 2011 and has grown significantly – in application volume, gala attendees, prizing and buzz – year after year.

Last years’ winners – Sniper Skin, ExVivo Labs and Blue Orchid – each took home a portion of the over $160,000 in prizes, awarded by the “Lions”: Cheri Chevalier (Microsoft), Tonia Jahshan (Steeped Tea), Michael Macaluso (CARSTAR), George McCarter (Pearson Dunn Insurance) and Mario Paron (KPMG).

April Wright of the 2015 grand prize winning team, Sniper Skin, says LiON’S LAIR was a transformative experience for her venture: “LiON’S LAIR was a fantastic experience for a startup company like ours. The networking and extensive training was invaluable, and we’re now working with amazing local companies that are helping us take Sniper Skin to the next level.”

Entrepreneurs and innovators interested in submitting an application for consideration this year are invited to register for a workshop on March 29 from 6-9 p.m. We’ll cover the entire LiON’S LAIR process, from submission through selection, to finalist training, filming, and the gala at Carmen’s. We’ll outline how to present an application that meets the criteria of the competition, making your submission as strong as possible, and you’ll hear from some past participants about their experience with the competition.

Capacity is limited, so be sure to register for the workshop early. We look forward to all of the 2016 LiON’S LAIR applications!


 

 

Lion’s Lair narrows to ten finalists

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Lion’s Lair is an annual event put on by Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, it involves 10 Hamilton-area startups battling each other for $150,000 in cash and professional services. It’s been happening since 2011, and local tech/software firms are always well represented, both amongst finalists and the winners. The actual Lion’s Lair evening at Carmen’s involves watching local business experts quiz the finalists on the viability and potential success of their business, over a nice dinner in a room filled with great people. Check out the top ten finalists below. Tickets are $60 for young professionals and $120 for regular early bird.

 

When: Wednesday September 30th from 5:00pm – 9:00pm

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

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/lions-lair-gala-sept-30-2015-tickets-17458822809

 

Blue Orchid Care Inc.

Blue Orchid designs and develops assistive technologies and rehabilitation tools to empower patient care and the caregiving experience. Their mission is to create simple and innovative solutions for challenges millions of caregivers face every day, improving the quality of life for both patients and caregivers. Their first product, ORCHIDlift, is a compact and portable sit-to-stand lift which allows the caregiver to lift and transfer 3x their weight limit and eliminates the forward bending motion and twisting of the spine that can cause back injury.

 

BuckitLife

BuckitLife is an online adventure tourism hub that connects consumers to service providers who can fulfill the activities on consumers’ bucket lists. They partner with service providers, promote their services, and drive sales on behalf of the merchants by inspiring people to pursue their dreams and live their bucket lists. We can’t choose how we age or when we pass, but we can choose how we live!

 

Chipsetter Inc.

Chipsetter Inc. is developing a low-cost pick-and­-place machine for the printed circuit board (PCB) assembly process that is 10 times more cost effective than existing entry-level machines, easier to use, and quicker to set up thanks to their low-cost feeder design. Chipsetter’s mission is to democratize access to advanced manufacturing technologies, and put a factory in every workshop.

 

ExVivo Labs Inc.

ExVivo Labs is developing skin patch technologies to make allergy testing less invasive and more accurate. Their technology provides an alternative allergy testing method to the commonly used skin prick test, and gives results that are safe, simple and certain.

 

QReserve Inc.

QReserve is a matchmaking service for researchers, students and businesses. They connect people who need research equipment, services or expertise and help Canadians accelerate their innovative research and development projects. Research partnerships are formed with the help of their publicly searchable database of research resources, which spans labs across Canada in universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutions.

 

Sniper Skin

Sniper Skin is a sports equipment manufacturing company that has created a revolutionary hockey tape alternative. They are parents, players and coaches that have found ways to improve the games they love. Their products aim to improve the game experience and reduce the effort required to prepare equipment for play, saving you money by extending the useful life of your sports gear.

 

Tribute Tree Inc.

TributeTreeFor funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoriums, Tribute Tree is the only Software as a Service (SaaS) website platform that meets all of the funeral planning, arrangement and digital communications needs of their customers (families) during their time of loss, while resulting in increased website traffic, more funeral pre-planning leads, increased revenue, and ultimately, more satisfied customers.

 

Virtual Possibilities

Virtual Possibilities has developed a patented, prototyped medical device for minimally invasive surgery. Comparable to the classic board game Operation, LaparoGuard tracks and records the delicate movements of laparoscopic tools during surgery, alerting medical teams when instruments approach the boundaries of an established safe zone. The overall effect is to reduce and prevent instrument and tissue collisions that cause injury during surgery.

 

WeMesh

WeMesh is the world’s first truly synchronous multimedia messenger app, letting users experience their favourite videos in perfect sync with all their friends while messaging through text and voice. WeMesh features simultaneous video playback, a versatile chat engine, high-quality Voice-over-IP, and full contacts and social network integration.

 

xocial

xocial™ (soh-shuhl) is a platform to motivate do-gooders, inspire healthy competition and help organizations engage audiences, all by measuring positive social impact with the xo score™ and making it easy to bring out the good in everyone, one thank you at a time. The xocial platform helps brands, non-profits, charitable foundations, employers and third-party apps connect with everyday heroes. Together, we can gamify goodness and make the world suck a little less.

 

15 ventures selected to compete in 2015 LiON’S LAIR

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Hamilton, ON (June 11, 2015) – Fifteen 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.

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 fifteen finalists are: 12 Squared Diagnostics, Blue Orchid Care, BuckItLife, Chipsetter, ExVivo Labs, NanoSpin, OneBase, Peytec, Qidni Labs, QReserve, Sniper Skin, Tribute Tree, Virtual Possibilities, WeMesh and xocial.

“This year marks the fifth annual LiON’S LAIR competition and we’re delighted to see the diverse, high-potential businesses that have been selected as finalists,” stated Keanin Loomis, President and CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

This year, a new component has been added to the competition. Fifteen ventures have been selected and all fifteen will go through training over the summer months, but in July, five companies will be eliminated during a round of preliminary pitching. The remaining ten will move on to face the Lions with the goal of winning a portion of the over $100,000 in prizing.

“This elimination stages adds another exciting element to the competition,” said David Carter, Executive Director, Innovation Factory. ”It also allows us to offer more entrepreneurs the invaluable workshop sessions to help them refine their business plan, their pitch, and ultimately accelerate their business.”

This years’ “Lions” are: Mario Paron (KPMG), Tonia Jahshan (Steeped Tea), George McCarter (Pearson Dunn), Cheri Chevalier (Microsoft Canada), and Michael Macaluso (CARSTAR Automotive Canada Inc).

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 September 30, 2015 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre. The Lions’ investment decisions will be revealed live on stage at the gala.

LiONĘĽS LAIR gala tickets will go on sale in early July at www.lionslair.ca.

 

More about this year’s finalists:

12 Squared Diagnostics has developed a diagnostic test for the new oral anticoagulants. It uses a drop of blood from a finger-prick at point-of-care, giving result in 30 minutes.

Blue Orchid Care has designed the ORCHIDlift, a compact and portable sit-to-stand lift which allows the caregiver to lift and transfer 3x their weight limit and eliminates the forward bending motion and twisting of the spine that can cause back injury.

BuckItLife is an online adventure tourism hub that connects consumers to service providers who can fulfill the activities on consumers’ bucket lists.

Chipsetter is developing a low­-cost pick-­and­-place machine for the printed circuit board (PCB) assembly process that is 10 times more cost­-effective, easier to use, and quicker to setup than existing entry­-level machines.

ExVivo Labs is developing skin patch technologies to make allergy testing less invasive and more accurate. Our technology provides an alternative allergy testing method to the commonly used skin prick test, and gives results that are safe, simple and certain.

NanoSpin presents a patent-pending cooling technology for computer servers. The result of a decade of research, this technology can reduce energy consumption of a data center by up to 50%, and reduce its real-estate footprint to a fifth.

OneBase has created a web platform that allows teams to effectively and efficiently onboard their members. OneBase lets you track the effectiveness of your initiatives, engage your new team members, and offers a one-stop-shop that is accessible anywhere – desktop or mobile.

Peytec is an award winning company, offers real-time location tracking and sensing solutions. Peytec mainly helps agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and logistics industries to better manage their inventory and product quality through utilization of Peytec’s scalable sensors and location chips.

Qidni Labs is working on an implantable renal replacement therapy (artificial kidney) for nearly three million patients with End Stage Renal Disease.

QReserve is a matchmaking service for researchers, students and businesses. Their platform connects people who need research equipment, services or expertise, building collaborative research partnerships. The QReserve platform is a publicly searchable database of research resources, which spans labs across Canada in universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutions.

Sniper Skin has created a revolutionary hockey tape alternative. Conventional hockey tape has remained the same for decades – it must be replaced every few games and does not protect the stick. Sniper Skin’s one piece sleeve is heat activated, with a special surface texture that slides over the blade.

Tribute Tree is the only Software as a Service (SaaS) website platform that meets all of the funeral planning, arrangement and digital communications needs of their customers (families) during their time of loss.

Virtual Possibilities has developed a patented, prototype for minimally invasive surgery. Comparable to the classic board game Operation, LaparoGuard tracks and records the delicate movements of laparoscopic tools during surgery, alerting medical teams when instruments approach the boundaries of an established safe zone. The overall effect is to reduce and prevent instrument and tissue collisions that cause injury during surgery.

WeMesh is the world’s first truly synchronous multimedia messenger app, letting users experience their favorite videos in perfect sync with all their friends while messaging through text and voice. WeMesh features simultaneous video playback, a versatile chat engine, high-quality Voice-over-IP, and full contacts and social network integration.

xocial™ (soh-shuhl) is a platform to motivate do-gooders, inspire healthy competition and help organizations engage audiences—all by measuring our positive social impact with the xo score™. The xocial platform helps brands, non-profits, charitable foundations, employers and third-party apps connect with everyday heroes.

 

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. www.hamiltonchamber.ca

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. www.innovationfactory.ca

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For more information, contact:
Emily Kinread
Marketing & Communications Manager, Innovation Factory
905.667.2611 x233 | emily.kinread@innovationfactory.ca

Keanin Loomis
President & CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
905.522.1151 x229 | k.loomis@hamiltonchamber.ca

 

Applications close April 30th for LiON’S LAIR

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Don’t miss your chance to apply for the fifth annual LiON’S LAIR competition, presented by Innovation Factory and The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

LiONʼS LAIR is an annual competition that brings together the entrepreneurial community in Hamilton, giving 10 companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of our city’s top business experts – the “Lions” – for a chance to win over $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources. The first LiON’S LAIR took place in 2011 and has grown significantly – in application volume, gala attendees, prizing and buzz – year after year.

Why should you apply for LiON’S LAIR? The competition offers:

1. Access to valuable training sessions to learn how to pitch your business, both to investors and the media

2. Excellent networking opportunities – both with other entrepreneurs as well as Hamilton’s innovation community. If you make the top 10, you’ll be pitching to a panel of top executives

3. The chance to win over $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources like meetings with IP lawyers and financial advisors!

Last years’ winners – Ranggo, The Greenlid, Sound Options, Hangry, and Special Appucations – each took home a portion of the over $160,000 in prizes, awarded by the “Lions”: Carmela Trombetta (RBC), Tonia Jahshan (Steeped Tea), Mario Paron (KPMG), Jeff Paikin (New Horizon Homes) and Blair McKeil (McKeil Marine).

Peter Basl of the 2014 grand prize winning team, Ranggo, says LiON’S LAIR was a transformative experience for his venture: “Every step of the competition helped shape the business and bring us to the stage we’re at now,” says Basl. “The training workshops helped tune our value proposition, pitch and strategy, and after winning, we received significant media exposure and credibility that helped open many doors. I definitely recommend any serious entrepreneur to apply for LiON’S LAIR.”

This year, another element has been added to the competition. Fifteen ventures will be selected from the pool of applicants. All fifteen companies will go through training over the summer months, but five will ultimately be eliminated during a round of preliminary pitching. The final 10 will then move on to face the “Lions”.

The 10 finalists’ pitches to the “Lions” are filmed at Cable 14, and clips from the taping will be shown at the competition’s gala event on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre, where the winners will be announced live on stage; last year’s sold-out gala attracted over 500 of Hamilton’s startup and small business supporters.

“By initially selecting fifteen companies we not only amp up the competition a little throughout the summer, but it also allows us to offer more entrepreneurs vital training,” says David Carter, Executive Director at Innovation Factory. “Even if they don’t make it to the top 10, the training they receive will help them advance their ventures.”

Training and exposure is what finalists who don’t win a portion of the prize package point to as a tremendous value add to the LiON’S LAIR experience. “Participating in LiON’S LAIR was probably one of the best decisions we made as a team in our early stages,” says Seyed Nourbakhsh, Founder of Formarum and LiON’S LAIR 2014 finalist. “Besides the great workshops, the competition provided tremendous exposure for us, validating our product, opening new doors and creating opportunities that we could otherwise have not encountered.”

To apply now visit: lionslair.ca/apply