Revolutionizing Healthcare: MedTech StartUps Win $50,000 at ventureLAB’s Third Annual Hard Tech Summit

Yara Jouzy
November 17, 2023
ventureLAB News

Markham, ON –ventureLAB concluded its 3rd annual HardTech Summit on November 8 & 9 in partnership with York Region, bringing together 800 global leaders, founders, partners, innovators, government officials and regulators both virtually and in person at Toronto Marriott Markham. Canada’s premier technology and innovation focused event, the HardTech Summit provided a unique opportunity tailored to the country’s hardware, semiconductor, MedTech, AI and Automobility sectors.

“ventureLAB’s HardTech Summit 2023 was a huge success making it the best attended summit we’ve hosted so far. We look forward to continuing showcasing innovation, fostering collaboration, and recognizing groundbreaking achievements in the hardtech sector locally and globally at our summit next year”  - Jane Gertner, Chief Growth Officer

The summit featured an exclusive Pitch Gala where eight companies vie for a chance to win a collective $50,000 in non-dilutive cash prizes to further advance research and scale operations. Hygienic Echo was awarded the first place reward of $30,000 for its flagship product, the Buddy Badge System™, which is an infection prevention approach that reduces infection transmission risks, preserves lives, and saves costs. Able Innovations was awarded the second place reward of $20,000, in addition to the Siemens Software Award valued at $33,000, for its advanced solutions with robotics addressing healthcare’s most labour-intensive tasks: patient transfers. 

Day 1, hosted by media personality and reporter Manjula Selvarajah, commenced with opening remarks from ventureLAB's CEO, Hugh Chow, and Avinash Persaud, VP of ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative. The summit featured keynote speaker Denis Gaudreault, Canada Country Manager of Intel, shared valuable insights about Canada’s role in the semiconductor sector and the importance of capitalizing on close relationships with neighbouring countries such as the US that will further strengthen local and global partnerships. Guadreault’s remarks was followed by a full day of panels covering diverse topics, from the automotive sector's post-pandemic recovery to securing investments for hardware start-ups to the intersection of AI and hardware, and more. 

A significant highlight of the day were the technical booths that played a crucial role in fostering a collaborative summit. These booths served as interactive spaces with cutting-edge technologies including student-built robots, AI powered semiconductor chips and graphic cards, and UV phone sanitizers, allowing attendees to engage firsthand with the latest innovations. ventureLAB wrapped up Day 1 with a Networking Cocktail Reception sponsored by the Canadian Semiconductor Council.

In addition to the highly-anticipated Pitch Gala on Day 2 of the summit, keynote remarks from Sebastien Gendron, Co-Founder and CEO of Transpod Inc. continued with a fireside chat with John Ruffolo, Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, and Flavio Volpe, President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, moderated by Sep Assadian, VP of Founder Success at ventureLAB. ventureLAB also had the honour of welcoming Mayor Frank Scarpitti, City of Markham, who shared insights about the semiconductor renaissance happening locally in Markham and York Region, enabling tech startups globally to work with initiatives such as ventureLAB. 

Winning the HardTech Pitch Competition is a tremendous honour for the Hygienic Echo team,” said Catharine Hancharek, Chief Operating Officer at Hygienic Echo. “It is so important to connect with like minded, passionate entrepreneurs and investors in this sector and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to do so at the HardTech Summit. The ventureLAB Team is a phenomenal partner for our future success.”

Details on the next annual HardTech summit can be expected to be released in Summer 2024. For more, please visit

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