Birth control advice, prosthetic limbs companies win big at Hamilton pitch competition


Published March 27, 2023 at 9:51 am

Hamilton innovation factory synapse pitch competition 2023 reya health app Vessl Prosthetics Inc Laetech dazl innovations
Hamilton's 10th annual pitch competition featured innovators in prosthetic limbs, accessible birth control advice, and intervenous removal. (Reya Health photo)

Hamilton’s Innovation Factory recently hosted its 10th annual Synapse Life Science Competition. For the first time since 2019, Ontario’s premier life science pitch competition was held in person, awarding more than $100,000 in prizes to companies on the front lines of innovation in prosthetic limbs, accessible birth control advice, and intervenous removal.

Organizers say the competition is designed to help move cutting-edge life science products and services out of the lab and into the market by teaming up innovators with business students and equipping them with the necessary training, guidance, and tools to prosper.

This year, 15 early-stage life science startups participated in three months of intensive training, where they produced commercialization plans for their ventures and prepared for the showcase.

At the event, the top three Synapse Competition finalists; Vessl Prosthetics Inc, Reya Health, and Laetech, went on to deliver their pitches to the judging panel and compete for their share of over $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

Vessl Prosthetics Inc. was named the grand prize winner, taking home a prize of $50,000 in cash along with an in-kind prize package for their automatically adjusting prosthetic socket. Vessl’s patentable technology redistributes pressure around the amputee’s leg to maintain a snug fit, which empowers amputees and their champions to overcome obstacles and realize their full potential.

“We are beyond excited to have won first place at this year’s Synapse Competition. We really feel as though we have been set up for success with Innovation Factory. It is incredibly rewarding to know that the judges recognized the usefulness of our product. We are eagerly looking forward to what lies ahead for us”, said Oleksiy Zaika, COO and Co-Founder of Vessl.

Reya Health took second place, receiving $20,000 in cash and an in-kind legal prize. Reya Health is a digital platform for personalized contraceptive counselling. Their process utilizes algorithms, human-centred design, and in-depth user profiles to match members with birth control methods.

Laetech came in third place, receiving $7,500 in cash and an in-kind Legal package for their novel reconstructive and cosmetic solution that harnesses the healing power of a patient’s own cells.

The winners also receive a one-year membership with Life Sciences Ontario and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.


Hamilton innovation factory synapse pitch competition 2023 reya health app Vessl Prosthetics Inc Laetech dazl innovations

“We are thrilled to bring the Synapse Life Science Competition back in person for the first time since 2019,” said David Carter, CEO of Innovation Factory. “As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this event, we are proud to be giving away over $100,000 in prizes that will have a big impact on these companies as they build ventures. Innovation Factory is committed to serving as a bridge between innovators and the resources they need to succeed. We are excited to be able to continue supporting commercialization and partnerships through the Synapse Competition and the SOPHIE Program.”

DAZL Innovations won this year’s Quick Pitch prize of $2,500 cash for their product, The Lifty — an all-in-one tool that helps reduce the strain caused by removing IV and injection caps.

Additionally, each of the competition finalists will receive a $5,000 grant to bolster their business endeavours through Innovation Factory’s SOPHIE program. Launched in 2021 with a $6 million investment from the Government of Canada, the SOPHIE program provides emerging life science companies with the opportunity to leverage renowned research expertise and clinical capacity to accelerate their path to market.

“The future of Canada’s health technology is strong. Canada has some of the best life sciences entrepreneurs in the world, and their talents were on full display today at the Synapse Competition,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Ontario. “The Government of Canada knows that the best way to bring cutting-edge medical technologies to Canadians is to build them right here, and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising