Innovation Factory announces top 10 finalists in LiONS LAIR 2023 pitch competition

Innovation Factory Announces Top 10 Finalists Selected Moving on to LiONS LAIR Pitch Competition from the Inaugural Founders Fast Track Program

HAMILTON, ON, July 11, 2023 – The inaugural Founders Fast Track program by Innovation Factory, has culminated in the selection of its top 10 finalists. These entrepreneurs, now equipped with refined business plans and pitches, will advance to the highly-anticipated LiONS LAIR pitch competition and gala event. The top 10 start-ups selected for the 13th annual LiONS LAIR pitch competition are Bug Mars, Steadiwear Inc, Sekond Skin Society, Visiontif, AWAKE, Noa Therapeutics, A.I VALI Inc, Mintier, BLUMEX, and Pocket Clinic. These start-ups represent various industries, offering innovative solutions and exemplifying the region’s entrepreneurial spirit by creating unique solutions for different market needs.

These 10 start-ups will pitch at the LiONS LAIR, Innovation Factory’s flagship competition and gala on September 27 in front of an audience of over 300 attendees. The pitching companies will also field questions from a panel of experts, the Investor LiONS, who will ultimately determine the competition winners.

Before meeting the ‘LiONS’ in September, the finalists will engage in a series of training sessions, receive expert mentorship from Gowling WLG and participate in a round of judging, designed to test their investment readiness strategies.

Over the past 12 years, LiONS LAIR has supported more than 150 high-potential regional companies and innovators and culminates in a gala event that has seen over 1 million in cash and in-kind prizes awarded. Every year, the gala event sells out and is host to not only up-and-coming regional companies but also Hamilton’s business and innovation community and influential industry leaders.

“Our LiONS LAIR Pitch Competition and Founders Fast Track program embody our mission at Innovation Factory: to foster and drive innovation within the Hamilton area and beyond. These 10 finalists are a testament to the growth potential our region holds. We’re extremely proud of what they’ve achieved through the program and look forward to their success at LiONS LAIR and in the future,” said David Carter, CEO of Innovation Factory.

LiONS LAIR is scheduled to take place on September 27, 2023 in Hamilton, Ontario. Visit to buy your tickets or table today.

About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory is a not-for-profit business accelerator, serving as the catalyst for technology innovation in the greater Hamilton area since 2010. Innovation Factory provides business services, training, mentorship, and strategic connections to drive market adoption, leverage intellectual property, and increase revenues, investment, and jobs. Innovators can also access sector-specific resources including exclusive smart transportation test environments and data; and a formal life science and health innovation ecosystem.


Annie Horton, Marketing Lead
Innovation Factory
[email protected]


The 2023 LiONS LAIR Finalists:

Bug Mars

Bug Mars makes sustainable alternative protein more affordable and accessible, for people and livestock. Bug Mars is currently building a shipping container cricket farm to demonstrate their software product Hexapod with pilots at an established large insect farm, an academic institution, and multiple poultry farms.

Steadiwear Inc.

Steadiwear has successfully commercialized the Steadi-Two – their battery-free glove designed the reduce hand tremors.

Sekond Skin Society

Sekond Skin Society is a health and fitness app designed around accessibility and inclusivity.


Visiontif is developing an affordable AI vision assistant that provides continuous visual information, with distant object detection, and scenario-based object detection/scene description for the blind and visually impaired to empower them to navigate independently.


AWAKE is Canada’s first clean-tech solution for cremation ashes, we combine science and spirituality to create legacies that live on.

Noa Therapeutics

Noa Therapeutics is a preclinical biotech company leveraging a systems biology approach to accelerate the design of tailored multimodal therapeutics for complex inflammatory diseases.


A.I. VALI is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) medical device company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to accurately detect the early stages of diseases such as cancer and to improve patients’ quality of life and cost per patient.


Mintier is proudly the first breath serum™ that is both dentist-recommended and nutritionist-approved. Free of sugar, alcohol, fillers and, additives, Mintier is the future of fresh breath.


BLUMEx is an AI-as-a-Service [AIasS] startup that helps podcasters scale their post-production. BLUMEx uses cutting-edge AI presets to automate and streamline the post-production process for podcasters.

Pocket Clinic

Pocket Clinic provides personalized therapy for patients with chronic conditions, aiming to help more than 10% of half a billion type 1 and type 2 insulin-dependent diabetics by introducing an integrated pain-free smart injector to keep their blood glucose in the normal range.

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