Innovators meet in the CHEO Bears’ Den to pitch ideas and products to improve children’s health care


Ottawa, Ontario — Thursday November 24, 2022

Last Friday, a handful of start-ups were welcomed into the inaugural CHEO Bears’ Den to pitch their innovative products and ideas with the aim of supporting and improving children’s health care. The Bears’ Den is an initiative coming out of the CHEO Research Institute’s efforts to advance health care innovation by partnering with early-stage companies and technologies that have the potential to transform and elevate the delivery of pediatric care.

The CHEO Bears’ Den event featured four start-ups pitching their ideas and/or products to a panel of investors and provided opportunities to bridge Ottawa’s entrepreneurial, health care and business sectors. The investor panel included Chris Ritchie (Ontario Centre of Innovation), Kim Ryel (Invest Ottawa), Bob Huggins (entrepreneur and filmmaker), Kevin Holmes (Algonquin College), David Adderley (Celtic House Venture Partners), Gaurav Gupta (Halo Health), and joining virtually, Gwen Cheni (Khosla Adventures).

The CHEO Bears’ Den was hosted by the CHEO Research Institute’s new innovation team – TECHi (Technology Enabling Child Health Innovations). TECHi’s purpose is to create a rich support ecosystem designed for health care innovators who want to improve the lives of children and youth through new technology products and ideas. Working in collaboration with CHEO, the CHEO Research Institute and the CHEO Foundation, TECHi’s main objective is advancing health care innovation by partnering with early-stage companies and technologies that have the potential improve the health care industry.

TECHi offers navigation through the innovation cycle for new ideas and products initiated both within CHEO and externally. The innovation team will help by providing mentorship and networking connections, incubation services, and partnership opportunities within the clinical and research settings through the acceleration process. The TECHi team is eager to learn about, and collaborate on, new ideas that drive health care innovation forward. There are specific qualifications in order to work with the TECHi team. To learn more about TECHi, visit

Inside the CHEO Bears’ Den – watch a highlight video!

Each start-up was given 10 minutes to pitch their start-up or product idea to the investor panel and answer questions from the panel. Each presentation was scored by the panel using a set criteria and feedback was delivered both verbally and in writing to each start-up. HyliDx was the highest scoring start-up and will receive $10,000 of in-kind support from the CHEO Research Institute for research and validation of their product.

The four starts-ups pitching to the CHEO Bears’ Den included:

Cavenwell AI

An artificial intelligence (AI) start-up focused on explaining AI data. Their software is capable of consuming arbitrary data sets and learning the best possible theory from them.

Dot Mind Unlocked

A technology hardware start-up. Offering a data driven approach to mental health diagnosis and treatment – leveraging AI technology to personalize therapy.


Medical diagnostics and digital health start-up. Developing the world’s first home testing platform for sufferers of chronic kidney disease to do lab-accurate blood tests, from a small finger-prick sample, with results securely uploaded to remote carers via their cloud service with AI analytics.


A 3D printing/additive manufacturing company who help health care providers design, access and produce equipment/parts on-demand.


Alex Munter, President and Chief Executive Officer at CHEO
“The CHEO Bears’ Den is an innovative way to bring many people from different industries motivated by the common goal of providing the best life for every child and youth. I look forward to seeing these ideas come to life and become a staple in the future of pediatric health care.”

Dr. Jason Berman, CEO and Scientific Director at the CHEO Research Institute, and Vice-President of Research at CHEO
“TECHi serves as the innovation and commercialization core of the CHEO Research Institute, which aims to support our researchers as they look to transform inspiration into high impact solutions, products and services that ultimately benefit patients and families. The Bears’ Den pitch event is a great example of how CHEO is challenging the status quo and looking at innovative ways to tackle health care challenges today and in the future.”

Dr.Matthew Bromwich, CHEO surgeon and Innovation Director for CHEO Research Institute’s TECHi Team
“The CHEO Bears’ Den represents the best of what bringing innovation to life is about. This event is the intersection of health care, research and business and holds the keys to solving some of the most pressing health care problems of today. I am so proud of the start-ups who pitched to the Bears’ Den and look forward to seeing them change the world for the better.”

Jack Fairbank, PhD, CEO Hylid Diagnostics Inc.
“HyliDx thanks CHEO and the CHEO Research Institute for organizing the Bears’ Den event to showcase Canadian med-tech start-ups for business leaders, clinicians, and investors.  We are thrilled to have been voted the winning pitch among such a strong group of companies, each doing fantastic work to help improve patient care.”


Media contact:

Jennifer Ruff
Manager of Communications
CHEO Research Institute
(613) 261-3979
[email protected]

About the CHEO Research Institute

The CHEO Research Institute coordinates the research activities of CHEO and is affiliated with the University of Ottawa. The seven programs of research at CHEO RI focus on a full spectrum of pediatric topics. Key themes include cancer, diabetes, obesity, mental health, emergency medicine, musculoskeletal health, electronic health information and privacy, and genetics of rare disease. At the CHEO Research Institute, discoveries inspire the best life for every child and youth. For more information, visit

For a French version of this release, please visit the CHEO newsroom.

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