Ready, Set, Pitch!

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019


Six corporations with roots in the UofG research community to compete for $17,500 in prizes at the first annual Gryphon’s LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition on May 21

Event highlights UofG research in action during Canadian Innovation Week

As part of Canadian Innovation Week, The Research Innovation Office at the University of Guelph (UofG), in partnership with the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, is pleased to host the first annual Gryphon’s LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition.  The event, being held on May 21, 2019 in Rozanski Hall on the UofG campus from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., will celebrate amazing innovators—from aquaculture, food traceability and cyber security to plant tissue culture propagation, equine therapy and nutraceuticals—who are putting knowledge into action in ways that have an impact on the Ontario economy and beyond.

“The Gryphon’s LAAIR program helps UofG researchers to launch innovations into the marketplace. Having supported more than 50 projects since 2014, Gryphon’s LAAIR funding has turned university knowledge into valuable outputs that have generated new enterprises, enhanced business productivity, created jobs, and improved prosperity and people’s lives,” notes Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President Research at the University of Guelph.

Beginning at 2 p.m. with an afternoon of dialogue and case studies that highlight the many ways UofG researchers identify needs and validate concepts that can be used by external stakeholders, the Gryphon’s LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch culminates in a pitch competition (starting at 6 p.m.) where six corporations who have roots in the UofG research community will go head-to-head to win a total of $17,500 in prizes.  Pitch teams are FloNergia Inc., LifeScanner, Griffinix, We Vitro Inc., SP Nutraceuticals Inc., and eQcell Inc. (additional details below).

The judges are Mauricio Alanis, Innovation Director, Maple Leaf Foods; Laura Arrell, The Arrell Family Foundation; Julie Ellis, COO of Snuggle Bugz and Angel Investor; Shelley King, CEO, Natural Products Canada; and Shelley Martin, CEO Emeritus, Nestle Canada. The pitch competition will kick off at 6 p.m. hosted by Improv comedian and entrepreneur Jay Reid of The Making Box.

What: The first annual Gryphon’s LAAIR Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition, a Canadian Innovation Week event.

Where: Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph campus

When: May 21, 2019 from 2-9 p.m.

  • 2 p.m. - Registration Opens
  • 3 to 4 p.m. – Panel Discussion: Exploring the Future of Knowledge Mobilization
  • 4 to 5 p.m. - Gryphon's LAAIR Project Showcase
  • 5 to 6 p.m. - Programming Break
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m. - Gryphon's LAAIR Pitch Competition
  • 7:30 to 9 p.m. - After Party

Visit the Gryphon's LAAIR Showcase and Pitch Competition webpage for more details or RSVP online today!

Additional Information

The Gryphon’s LAAIR Pitch Competition (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

The Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research) is an Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance funding program that began in 2014  as a collaboration between OMAFRA and UofG to support the commercialization of research findings.  The program accelerates the development of new products, processes and technologies based on innovative research results, which will benefit the Ontario agri-food and rural sectors.

The Pitch Teams

Named by the Globe and Mail as an important Canadian Clean Tech Company to Watch in 2019 and achieving finalist status in Fast Company’s 2018 World Changing Ideas Award competition, FloNergia Inc. is commercializing airlift pumps that substantially reduce energy use in aquaculture, hydroponic, and aquaponic production systems.

Named by the Globe and Mail as an important Canadian Clean Tech Company to Watch in 2019 and achieving finalist status in Fast Company’s 2018 World Changing Ideas Award competition, FloNergia Inc. is commercializing airlift pumps that substantially reduce energy use in aquaculture, hydroponic, and aquaponic production systems.


  • Aquaculture, Aquaponics, Hydroponics methods and industry barriers
  • Energy conservation

DNA sequencing and analysis is made more accessible and portable by Biolytica Inc. Their lead product the Lifescanner Species Identification Kit and companion App is empowering ‘citizen scientists’ and others to use new tools and information to better understand and document the diversity of life around them.


  • DNA barcoding
  • Food fraud
  • Food Traceability
  • Wildlife Fraud

Using an artificial intelligence based controller system that provides timely and efficient responses to cyber-attacks, Griffinix Inc. is helping to build more secure, predictive and resilient computer systems. Their technology has applications across industries and sectors and can be used to protect sensitive information for parties as diverse as agricultural groups, health care providers and the Department of National Defence.


  • Cyber security
  • Cyber Forensics
  • Threat Intelligence

Targeting large scale cannabis producers and their needs for product consistency, the We Vitro growth system is a novel yet versatile plant tissue culture devices ideally suited to commercial settings needing to scale plant production. By redesigning traditional equipment, We Vitro Inc. has created space saving, low labour and maintenance solutions, putting them at the forefront of the tissue culture industry.


  • Plant variety preservation (bananas, orchids, cannabis)
  • Plant tissue culture propagation

Through the discovery and development of novel food and plant-based molecules, SP Nutraceuticals Inc. is developing natural products designed to improve the lives and health of people who would otherwise need prescription medications. They are working with the molecule Avocatin B, which has demonstrated an ability to kill leukemia stem cells, delay the onset of insulin resistance and aid in weight loss.


  • Nutraceuticals
  • Plant derived health therapies for cancer, diabetes, kidney stones
  • Health properties of avocadoes

eQcell Inc. gives veterinarians and trainers an opportunity to repair injured equine athletes with cutting edge stem cell therapies. eQcell technology not only reduces the suffering of these animals but allows them to return to their intended careers with high functionality to live productive lives.


  • Equine health: racing, equestrian athletics, etc.
  • Humane animal care
  • Stem cell immune therapy

The Prizes

The six companies will compete for a total $17,500, including $7,500 grand prize, decided by our panel of industry judges and a $5,000 people’s choice award given to the top team as decided by the audience.

The Panel Discussion: Exploring the Future of Knowledge Mobilization (3 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

The panel will explore knowledge mobilization from various lenses including visual communication, research, technology transfer and agricultural extension. The panelists will discuss the role their work plays in innovating knowledge mobilization, as well as what they believe the future of knowledge mobilization looks like. This panel will be moderated by Dr. Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research) at the University of Guelph. and includes the following panelists:

  • Julia Krolik, CEO of Art the Science and Pixels and Plans
  • Michael Jonny, Manager of Knowledge Mobilization at York University
  • Jason Deveau, Application Technology Specialist at OMAFRA
  • Jess Haines, Co-Director of the Guelph Family Health Study

Gryphon’s LAAIR Project Showcase (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.)

This session will highlight five projects funded through the Gryphon’s LAAIR program and look at their impact on the Ontario economy, employment, product development, investment and follow-on research achieved as a result of the funding. Hosted by Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research) at the University of Guelph.

  • 5 economic impact studies 5 to 8 minutes each with 2 to 5 minutes for questions
    • Michele Oliver - School of Engineering
    • Medhat Moussa - School of Engineering
    • Praveen Saxena - Plant Agriculture
    • George Van der Merwe - College of Biological Science
    • John Dutcher -  Department of Physics

About The Research Innovation Office (RIO)

The Research Innovation Office moves on-campus discoveries out to the communities where they will have the most impact. RIO offers four main service streams – Industry Liaison (making connections between faculty and industry), Technology Transfer (advising faculty, staff and students on intellectual property rights), Knowledge Mobilization (helping to translate UofG research into real world applications through connection and knowledge exchange with decision makers), and New Venture Creation (help bring product or service ideas developed by researchers to market).

Social Follow: Instagram @CreatedAtGuelph, Twitter @CreatedAtGuelph

About Canadian Innovation Week

Powered by the Rideau Hall Foundation, the annual Canadian Innovation Week brings together partners and stakeholders from the innovation ecosystem to connect, cultivate and celebrate Canadian innovation.

Social Follow: Instagram @CanadianInnovationSpace, Twitter @Cdn_Innovation #CanadianInnovationWeek

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