Oakville’s IRIS R&D won the $35,000 top prize Thursday night at Hamilton’s Lion’s Lair entrepreneurship competition for its technology to spot potholes with AI-assisted dashboard cameras.

The platform to be piloted in Hamilton aims to improve roads and reduce the cost of manual patrols of city streets by analyzing video data captured via dash cams on buses and municipal trucks.

“Lions Lair has been an experience of entrepreneurial growth, personal insights and self awareness,” said Emil Sylvestor Ramos, co-founder of IRIS.

In second place with a $25,000 cash prize was ARCH, a shared-equity housing program that provides up to 100 per cent of the down payment for first-time homebuyers. The Toronto-based company founded by Kristian Borghesan and five other partners is planning to roll out its service in Hamilton, St. Catharines, Barrie and other southern Ontario cities.

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. It was founded by London, Ont., nurse Cheryl Muise in partnership with Barrie’s Humanscope.

Hamilton’s Engagement Agents and its founder Sean Snyder won the $2,500 People’s Choice award and a $2,500 Hamilton Award for a platform that helps retailers easily engage their shopping centres’ digital and physical marketing channels.

The 10 finalists presented their pitches Thursday night at Liuna Station before judges and 500 guests. They were selected from a pool of more than 60 applicants from a wide variety of disciplines — everything from advanced manufacturing to life sciences.

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