Fifteen local companies have been chosen to compete in LiON’S LAIR, a business competition that offers entrepreneurs the chance to win valuable resources. Entrepreneurs pitch their business to a panel of industry experts—the “Lions”—for over $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources.
“The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to continue our partnership with Innovation Factory in producing LiON’S LAIR for the seventh consecutive year. The calibre of finalists this year is excellent. We’re thrilled to coach these fifteen entrepreneurs through the start-up phase and provide the top performers with a significant infusion of resources to get their companies off the ground,” stated Keanin Loomis, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
Applications for the competition were open until late April and hopeful applicants submitted their business plans. 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: 20/20 OptimEyes, AIVA Labs, Brainsview Inc., BridesMade, Dash MD, Dolled Up Desserts, Gene Blueprint, Helping Hands App, Healthy Pets, HiNT Neuro, Lumago, Micharity, NanoPhyll Inc., NeuralSeg, and Oneiric Hockey.
“From health tech to baked goods, our finalists are strong entrepreneurs who understand their industries. We’re looking forward to helping these companies perfect their pitches. We’re thankful to our partners, volunteers, and staff for the high quality training and resources offered to our finalists,” stated David Carter, Executive Director of Innovation Factory.
Over the summer, the finalists will use training sessions to develop their pitch, learn to control their brand, present to the media, and handle objections. After a final elimination round in late July, ten finalists will be chosen to pitch to the “Lions”. 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 27, 2017 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre. The “Lions’” investment decisions will be revealed live on stage at the Gala!
The eye is a delicate organ and eye drops are often the first solution for many ocular conditions. Unfortunately, eye drops simply do not work well: most medication applied is washed away after the first blink. 20/20 OptimEyes solves this problem with a transformative drug delivery platform for eye conditions normally treated with eye drops. Their patented “μ-celle” formula binds medication to the surface of the eye for faster and more effective relief.
AIVA Labs helps small businesses create overlay marketing campaigns on their website. These campaigns are designed to convert web traffic through special offers, call to action messaging, video, and more. The suite features an easy-to-use campaign builder and powerful analytics tools to ensure campaign success. With AIVA Labs, marketers can easily share controlled brand experiences—no coding required.
$2.6B is spent on bridesmaid dresses every year, and millennial bridesmaids complain about the cost and process. Through a rental model, online experience, and fitting algorithm, BridesMade solves these problems. Bridesmaids can rent size-adjustable designs through the BridesMade online portal and have it shipped to their doorstep. By renting their dress, bridesmaids can save an average of 60% off retail. A special fitting algorithim also ensures that bridesmaids get the perfect fit entirely online.
Brain disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide and costs healthcare $1.5T annually. The cost is due to the inability to assess brain function in realtime, leading to the “wait and see” approach to disease management. BrainsView Inc. offers a realtime brain-monitoring device that can predict recovery and changes in health after a brain injury. By allowing doctors to accurately assess brain function, their device can improve patient recovery and decrease associated heathcare costs.
Patients are often stressed, tired, or medicated when being sent home from the hospital for recovery. Recovery information given at this time may be misunderstood or forgotten, leading to unnecessary readmissions/revisits. Dash MD offers a solution: their mobile patient experience connects patients to everything they need to manage their care after leaving the hospital.
Dolled Up Desserts is a wholesale bakery offering gluten free and vegan treats and baking mixes. The bakery was founded with the mission to empower those with dietary differences to conveniently enjoy dessert without sacrificing taste, texture, or nutrition. Their 100% gluten free, vegan, and soy free baking mixes allow the home baker to easily make their favourite treats, including fudgy brownies, banana muffins, chocolate cake, and more. Dolled Up Desserts baked goods and baking mixes can be found in dozens of retail stores across Southern Ontario.
Everyone responds to fitness and nutrition plans differently and this is largely due to genetics. Gene Blueprint has developed patented methods that use a client’s DNA, an algorithm, relevant lifestyle data, and gene scores to make recommendations on effective nutrition and exercise strategies. This personalized approach to health and wellness is delivered via a genetic test kit.
Helping Hands App is an online platform that matches students with volunteer organizations. Using a skill development matching model, students gain access to valuable employable skills while volunteer organizations get eager recruits. Student volunteers can track their hours and receive valuable feedback from charitable organizations that can be used on their resume. Helping Hands App also offers student workshops to develop skills in resume building, community engagement, and more.
healthypets.io is Canada’s first virtual veterinary consultation platform, serving as an online marketplace connecting veterinarians with local pet owners on demand through video chat. Pet owners can source the trustworthy information they need to make an informed pet health decision and seek in-person care if required.
HiNT Neuro is developing a wearable monitoring device using EEG technology to detect a stroke, alerting high-risk patients, their caregivers, and emergency services, while providing a medical report for the hospital. Until now, a stroke during sleep resulted in either debilitating effects or death. This is because sufferers of sleep strokes are unable to receive highly effective, yet time-sensitive treatment. HiNT’s device provides continuity of care outside of the hospital and could save the lives of thousands of stroke victims every year. The device is a comfortable, wearable headband that patients can sleep comfortably with at night.
Lumago provides an aquaponics system that is customizable, expandable, and fully automated. Aquaponics is an alternative farming technique that can decrease farming costs, increase yields, and provide certified organic produce. The method combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) into one system. With the Lumago system, farmers can implement aquaponics and expand as their needs change.
MiCharity is an online fundraising tool that collects donations and engages donors and supporters over multiple channels from a single platform. The platform leverages powerful analytics to translate donor insights into effective fundraising campaigns. With MiCharity, fundraisers can gain important insights to increase acquisition and retention while driving donor lifetime value.
NanoPhyll Inc. has developed smart coatings that can be applied to existing surfaces. Industries expend time, effort, and cleaning products in a constant fight against dirt, dust, and grime. The risk of mechanical breakdown, environmental pollution, and workplace safety is high if these elements are not kept in check. NanoPhyll Inc.’s coatings are self-cleaning and anti-microbial, improving air quality while reducing the need for chemical use and costly repairs/renovations.
NeuralSeg automatically segments medical images, which saves doctors and researchers time and money. These segmentations improve surgical planning and diagnosis. By producing results faster, crucial information from a patient’s MRI (such as bone size or cartilage thickness) is easily converted to usable data.
Getting dressed for hockey can be a hassle, especially for youth players. Despite the fact that players have to dress in thirteen or more different pieces of equipment, there are still critical gaps in safety left by current equipment on the market. Oneiric Hockey has developed innovative, patented protective base layer apparel for hockey players that allows them to get dressed faster, provides additional safety in areas currently left exposed, and holds shin pads securely in place.
Keep checking lionslair.ca for updates throughout the summer. Our top 10 finalists, that will pitch to the Lions, will be chosen in late July. Stay tuned!