Griflens , the new startup that hopes to spark a playground craze, are the winners of Startup Weekend Maker Edition Toronto . Their team beat out stiff competition from ten other innovative hardware startup ideas to win the contest that empowers entrepreneurs to launch businesses in a single weekend. They impressed judges with their 3D printed story beads that combine to tell an interactive online story that changes depending on which beads you have in your collection.
Griflens walked away with a huge package of prizes that included a Makerbot ReplicatorTM 2 desktop 3D printer, iPad airs, pro memberships at new maker space The Shop and a wide range of tools and consultancy services to help them  grow their business.
Startup Weekend Maker Edition Toronto, presented by Ontario Centres of Excellence, took place at OCAD U this weekend. Entrepreneurs, makers, designers and developers joined forces for an intense 54-contest to pitch ideas, build hardware and launch startups. Teams used laser cutters, Arduinos and a fleet of 3D printers to build their prototypes and bring their ideas to life.
“We’re now preparing to compete in the Global Startup Battle,” said Alison Gibbins, founder of Griflens. “Winning Startup Weekend Maker Edition Toronto is just the first step. We want to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winners, Groupnotes, and continue to put Toronto on the map with our product.”
Griflin are already taking pre-orders  and will be using their 3D printer prize to fulfil orders. They hope these early editions will become collectors items down the road.
Second place winners, Pawly, impressed judges with their robot chew toy that helps pet owners to interact with their pets using video and voice connectivity. Third place winners were Ascend, a startup that plans to lower the rate of falls for seniors by creating a product that helps older people grip more efficiently when going up and down stairs.
Both Griflens and Pawly will go on to compete against winning startup ideas worldwide in the Global Startup Battle Champions Circle . Part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Global Startup Battle also invites all Startup Weekend teams to compete in a range of different categories to win more prizes and exposure for their fledgling startups.
“The quality of teams presenting was incredibly high,” said Holly Knowlman, lead organizer of the event. “Seeing such a wide range of hardware-focussed products that have real market potential was great. The drop in material costs means that hardware startups are becoming increasingly more viable, which we thought made this the perfect time to experiment with a maker edition of Startup Weekend. The ideas we saw totally backed up that assumption.”