Gryphon's LAAIR Showcase and Pitch Competition

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Return to the LAAIR

The Gryphon's LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition is set to return in 2021 with new teams and technologies.

Register to attend.

The objectives of the competition are threefold:

  1. Share the real-world impact UofG innovators have on the Ontario economy with the campus community, OMAFRA, our partners and the public;
  2. Provide a platform for UofG innovators to share their success stories and to initiate new conversations and partnerships that will further enhance the impact; and
  3. Inspire our wider campus community to adopt an impact focused mindset.

The Teams

The five competing corporations are:

BioFerm Functional Foods Inc. logo
BioFerm Functional Foods Inc.
Presenter Richard Heck
Guelph Petrographic Imaging
DigiTrack Systems Inc. logo
DigiTrack Systems Inc.
Astra Redex Logo
Astra Redex Inc.

The Judges

We are pleased to announce our esteemed panel of international judges.

Harry is a serial entrepreneur that has worked at the intersection of healthcare and technology, and has touched all aspects of starting companies in complex industries. Having "been there and done it", he's committed to helping entrepreneurs build great companies. In addition, he has been a recipient of the Thiel Fellowship, Kairos Fellowship, James Dyson Award, and more. He currently is helping founders via the Lab2Market Program in Toronto.

Jim Hardin has over 15 years of experience building and investing in digital, life science and agricultural technology companies. Prior to the AVAC Group, he had a productive career as an academic in life sciences and published extensively in various areas of human and animal health. As a past company founder and entrepreneur himself, he has insight into the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey and actions needed to address them. In Jim’s role as co-lead of CARROT, his passion for mentoring innovative technology companies serves to identify and equip teams for significant commercial results.

David is a retired internet/digital serial entrepreneur, turned angel investor with a global health, food and tech portfolio. David has 20+ years of experience building companies and management teams from scratch and taking them to international success, and 10+ years as an investor in early stage ventures, helping them to enter global markets, raise capital and grow.

As the founder of Entrepreneurship Foundation Hungary, David is the creative mind behind the Hungarian government’s INPUT Program, which is recognized by the United Nations as a ‘Global Best Practice Program’ for fostering the innovation ecosystem.

His background includes being a university dropout, a US Government IVLP alumnus, graduate of the China Executive Leadership Academy on doing business in China, Board Member of the Chamber of Commerce of his hometown Győr, member of the Foreign Economic Committee of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and industry in Budapest, Member of the European Parliament of Enterprises in Brussels for 2 terms, as well as an independent expert to the European Commission on SME development, innovation and entrepreneurship. David has been a frequent speaker and MC on entrepreneurship around the world, including GEW, The Kairos Summit, G20 YES, IMPACT, eit European Innovation Awards and UN global innovation events.

Beside Europe, David recently spends most of his time in Canada and served on the Governor General’s Canadian Innovation Awards Committee, is Member of the Culinary Institute of Canada, is a Board of Directors and investment committee member of Natural Products Canada and President of Angel Investment Partners Canada.

Suhas has over a decade of experience in Food and Agriculture as an Investor and Operator. He is currently responsible for making and managing investments on behalf of the firm across the AgriFood ecosystem, he has been instrumental in making five new investments and has worked on boards of companies that have a significant hardware component. Previously, Suhas has built and scaled a row crop seed business in India and has worked extensively with farmers. He also has a breadth of investment experience working on the limited partner side of private investments as well as in M&A and Buyouts.

Jenn Smith is the Director of Cornell University’s Grow-NY program, overseeing a $1M top prize startup competition focused on nurturing a dynamic food and ag ecosystem in Upstate New York. Her role draws on her background in craft beverage market development, most recently as the Executive Director of the New York Cider Association and the New York State Distillers Guild. In addition to working with NYCA and NYSDG, Jenn was an NYC-based consultant to food entrepreneurs creating value-added products and hospitality ventures. Before that, she was the marketing director of New York’s largest wine and spirits retailer, and earlier in her career was a director of early online community- and customer engagement for Citigroup, Bertelsmann, and Time Inc. She studied philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College, was certified in systems analysis at Columbia University, and attended culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Past Events:

2020 Gryphon's LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition

2019 Gryphon's LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition

Other Events:

Looking for other local opportunities to practice your pitch?

Please visit the Guelph Guide to Entrepreneurship to learn about other pitches, and events.