HAMILTON – Sept. 26, 2019 – IRIS, a company which enables cities to conduct real-time monitoring of road conditions using AI-enabled dash cams, took home a top prize of $35,000 after making their pitch the Lions and a sold-out crowd.

IRIS’ technology enables city-owned assets such as buses and trucks to autonomously locate and measure the formation of potholes and road damage, cutting down the cost of manual patrols employed by cities today.  The Investor Lions chose IRIS for not just their innovation, but also for creating a sustainable business that can improve cities and addressed pain points in many other industries.

“Lions Lair has been an experience of entrepreneurial growth, personal insights and self awareness,” said Emil Sylvestor Ramos, co-founder of IRIS.  “Everything from the application process, pitch training and live interviews has pushed us to strive better both personally and professionally.” 

In second place was ARCH, a shared-equity housing program which provides up to 100% of the down payment for first time home buyers.  After being praised for their strong business model and solid legal footing, ARCH took home $25,000 in cash. 

BTXpen, the world’s first dial-a-dose medical syringe that can be filled by the user, was awarded third place and a prize of $10,000.  BTXpen had the highest ranking in the legal scorecard for well-researched business proposal in the highly regulated medical field.

The Hamilton Award, a cash prize donated by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, was awarded to Sean Snyder of Engagement Agents.  Engagement Agents is a platform which helps retailers easily engage their shopping centres’ digital and physical marketing channels.  

Engagement Agents was also the winner of the People’s Choice Award, a $2500 cash prize presented by Pillar of Business Sponsor Meridian Credit Union

All finalists were awarded a free one-year membership to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

For the first time ever, the Top 10 finalists faced two sets of Lions at two different stages.  Finalists were interviewed and ranked after meeting Pillar of Business Lions from Jan Kelley, Gowling WLG, and KPMG back in July, and last night they braved the stage, pitching the Investor Lions and over 500 gala guests.  After a quick deliberation, the Investor Lions announced their picks.

“Not only where we looking for something that was really innovative, but also for teams that were building sustainable businesses, that have a good understanding of their market, and have obviously done their research,” said Karen Grant, Investor Lion and Executive Director of the Angel One Investment Network.

Lions Lair is an annual pitch competition presented by Innovation Factory, in partnership with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Hamilton Economic Development.  Previous Lions Lair winners include Weever Apps, Nix Sensor, and MesoMat.

About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory is Hamilton’s Regional Innovation Centre and has been funded by the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs since 2011.  Serving as a catalyst for tech innovation, 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.