First ever virtual event draws 1,200+ online viewers
HAMILTON – Sept. 24, 2020 – Digby Paints, Canada’s first online paint store, took home the top prize of $30,000 after competing in front of more than 1,200 registered online and TV viewers in the first virtual version of Hamilton’s leading pitch competition, LiONS LAIR.
Digby Paints is disrupting the home improvement sector with a convenient and engaging e-commerce experience. Digby offers a curated palette of 60 colours of high-quality, Made-in-Canada paints, plus online tools to help make painting a hassle-free, fun experience.
“LiONS LAIR was an amazing experience that really pushed us to take a hard look at all aspects of our business,” said Digby Paints co-founder Jill Torrance. “It was great to be able to tap into the expertise of the mentors and ‘Lions’ whose advice will help take our business to the next level. Winning the top prize is an awesome bonus. Congratulations to all the other finalists!”
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Innovation Factory’s LiONS LAIR event showcases the region’s innovative start-up community and gives up-and-coming entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their business to a panel of Hamilton’s top business experts and potential investors.
This year’s runner-up was BData Solutions, developers of an artificial intelligence and machine learning system for manufacturing. The People’s Choice Award, a $2,500 cash prize, went to ImaginAble Solutions, whose Guided Hands™ device enables people with limited fine motor skills to write, draw and paint as well as type and scroll on a computer or tablet.
Social distancing and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 prompted LiONS LAIR organizers to develop an exciting new format for this year’s event, which in normal circumstances would have culminated in a 500-person gala celebration. Over the summer, all the training, networking and coaching support for the 2020 LiONS LAIR cohort was delivered virtually. The actual competition took place as a virtual bracket-style tournament that saw 16 finalists face off in pitch ‘match-ups’ until there was a final winner.
“Every year, we’re impressed by the talent and creativity of the entrepreneurs who compete in the LiONS LAIR. This year was no different, in spite of the obstacles presented by the pandemic,” said Dave Carter, Executive Director of Innovation Factory. “These are the people who drive innovation and sustain prosperity in our region, and we are proud to connect them with the people and resources that they need to succeed at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.”
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About Lions Lair
LiONS LAIR is an annual competition presented by Innovation Factory and brings Hamilton’s entrepreneurship and innovation community together. The competition gives up-and-coming entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to a panel of the city’s top business experts – the “Lions” – for a chance to win cash prizes.
About Innovation Factory
Innovation Factory is a non-profit business accelerator, serving as the catalyst for tech innovation in the greater Hamilton area since 2011. Innovation Factory provides business services, training and mentorship to help entrepreneurs with advanced manufacturing, clean tech, information tech, life science and social innovations to bring their ideas to market, increase revenues, attract investment and create jobs.