Thank you to our volunteers, mentors and judges!

Thank you to all of the volunteers, mentor and judges,Startup Weekend Toronto would not have been possible without you!

A list of mentors and judges is provided below.  If you are on this list, want something edited or deleted, or we have inadvertently missed someone, please let us know and we’ll fix it.  We have tried to include Twitter handles (@name), LinkedIn profiles, and other ways to connect but please do not spam them with unsolicited communications.


All of our participants benefit from your guidance and wise words of advice during the weekend.  Your feedback was incorporated into the final products and pitches.  We hope that you enjoyed mentoring Toronto’s future entrepreneurs.

Jason Pereira, Partner and Financial Consultant at Bennett March,

Rob Maurin, VP Brand Engagement at Wave, @robmaurin

Jason Moyse, Lawyer,, @jasonmoyse

Andrés Aquino, Partner at TWG,, @eh_eh

Jay Vidyarthi, Senior Interaction Designer at InteraXon,, @jayvidyarthi,”

Inbae Ahn, Managing Partner, CIO at Polyform Labs,

Kristina Libby, @kristinalibby,

Rosy Rumpal       Startup Lawyer at DMZ, Fashion Zone & The Lean Lawyer,

Daryna Kulya, Manager, Digital Innovation Lab at Deloitte,, @darynakulya

Mat Savulescu, Data Storyteller and Founder at Literally,,, @LiterallyAgency

Marco Petkovski, Measurement & Analytics Lead at Teehan+Lax,

Katie Hrycak, UX Designer at Wave, @khrycak

Mark Appleby, UX/Front-End Developer  at TWG, @themarkappleby,

Mike Lovas, Chief Design Officer and Co-Founder of PUSH,, @mlovas,

Robert Tu, Founder, MeU: Open Source Wearable LED Display,, @the_MeU_LED,

John Grant, Senior Mobile Developer at The Working Group,, @grantjk,

Dan Langer, Developer Team Lead at Wave,, @dlanger,

Zak Homuth, Co-Founder & CEO at Upverter, @zakhomuth,,

Michael Woodworth, Co-founder at Upverter, @mwoodworth33,

Robleh Jama, Tiny Hearts,, @robjama,

Rajen Sanghvi,    COO @Shoplocket  and The BluePrint,, @RajenSanghvi,

Bing Lin Senior, Project Manager at AutoDesk,

Nick Kuhne, iOS developer,

Sharon Fan, Operations Lead at GestSure,,, @shfantastic

Anna Romanovska, User Experience Designer at Autodesk,

Jeremy Bell, Co-founder & CEO at Wattage, @jeremybell,,

Jay Lorencz, Director of Client Services at Beyond Marketing Group,,

Mark Goh, Founder and CEO at ChargeSpot,, @charge_spot

Mauricio Meza, Business Development at Komodo OpenLab , @sqr_m,

Heather Tay, Interim Executive Director at Imagination Catalyst, OCAD,, @hdatay

Calvin Chu, Founder at Palette,, @palettegear, @cchurun,

Shannon Fox, Co-Founder at, @shanndfox,

Daniel Kaplan, Co-Founder,,  @okaykap,,


We were honoured to have such an experienced group of Internet of Things builders, entrepreneurs and investors.  Thanks for gracefully choosing the winners, which was really difficult given the talented teams who presented.

Natasha Baker, Founder at SnapEDA, @NatashaABaker, @Snap_EDA,,

Matthew Leibowitz, Parter at Plazacorp   , @m_leibowitz,

Karl Martin, CEO at Bionym, @KarlTheMartian,

Ian Collins, Founder and CEO at CrowdCare, @Wyrex95,

Vello wins Startup Weekend Toronto – Internet of Things Edition

(Reposted from the media release crafted by the talented Holly Knowlman)

A new wave of IoT companies got their start in Toronto this weekend at Startup Weekend Toronto: Internet of Things Edition.

The 54-hour event brought together makers, designers, developers and entrepreneurs to share ideas and launch new businesses. Teams spent the weekend talking to potential customers and building product prototypes before presenting to a panel of judges on Sunday afternoon.

Judge Natasha Baker, Founder of SnapEDA, spoke about the importance of events like Startup Weekend for fuelling innovation in the IoT space.

“By 2020 there will be over 50 billion connected devices as part of the Internet of Things,  and a lot of innovation in the space is coming from smaller companies and startups. Broader connectivity is the next wave of innovation in computing, following on from mobile. That makes events like Startup Weekend, which give entrepreneurs a platform to vet their ideas, so valuable.”

She was joined on the judging panel by Karl Martin, CEO & Co-Founder of Bionym, Matthew Leibowitz of Plaza Ventures and Ian Collins, Founder and CEO of Crowdcare Corporation.  

They selected Vello, creators of a smart vent to control temperature in the home, as the first place team. They impressed judges with their prototype for a simple, beautiful honeycomb vent that could be opened or closed via an iPhone app.

Joey Piro, who originally pitched the idea for Vello, stressed the importance of teamwork when launching new companies.

“This weekend I learned the importance of having faith in those around you to help you execute on your vision. Vello was only possible because of how well our team meshed and worked together as a unit.”

Second place was StoveAlert,  a lightweight smart device that detects stovetop temperatures and alerts you of changes before an accident occurs. myMouse, a custom-built ergonomic computer mouse designed to fit the hand of an individual user, took third place. 

Event sponsor VitaminWater awarded ExploreTO their special “doer” award, given to the team they thought worked the hardest over the weekend. ExploreTO is a curated, pre-paid subscription services for experiences that helps people try something new each month.

Startup Weekend Toronto is just one of 250 Startup Weekend events taking place during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Teams in Toronto will now go on to compete against entrepreneurs from other regions in the Global Startup Battle, the world’s biggest startup competition. Prizes for the champions include tickets and travel to GEC in Milan, LAUNCH in San Francisco and a media tour in New York City.

Toronto startups have an impressive track record in the Global Startup Battle, winning the competition in both 2013 and 2012. Last years winners, Pawly, created a robotic chew toy that gives dog owners a new way to interact with their pet. Pawly is currently preparing for the public launch of their product.

Startup Weekend Toronto Internet of Things Edition was presented by Ontario Centres of Excellence and took place at MakeWorks and The Shop this weekend. There, teams had access to 3D printers, laser cutters and other equipment for building hardware prototypes.

“I’m consistently impressed with the level of talent in the city. Startup Weekend has a great track record of launching amazing companies in Toronto and this event was no exception. Our participants, mentors and sponsors have all demonstrated that Toronto is a hotbed of talented when it comes to Internet of Things innovation.” – Lead organizer, Heather Simmonds

About Startup Weekend Toronto: Startup Weekend Toronto is an intense 54-hour event where local entrepreneurs, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, startup enthusiasts and anyone interested in building a business will come together to share ideas, form teams, and launch a startup. Startup Weekend Toronto Internet of Things Edition is presented by Ontario Centres for Excellence and sponsored by BDC Capital, Autodesk and Shopify.  For more information about Startup Weekend Toronto please visit, email or search Twitter hashtag #SWTO.

 About Startup Weekend: Startup Weekend™ supports the development and expansion of entrepreneurship through events worldwide that educate aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market. Startup Weekend has built a network of more than 55,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and 100 trained facilitators spread across more than 300 cities in 100 countries. Google, Coca-Cola, AWS and .Co are sponsors. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @startupweekend.


Volunteer at Startup Weekend Toronto

Want to get involved with the Toronto startup community, network with like minds, and participate in a highly-creative, energetic and fun weekend? Then, consider volunteering at Startup Weekend Toronto this weekend! Our theme is The Internet of Things. It’ll all go down at MakeWorks (1139 College Street).
Click here to learn what volunteering at a Startup Weekend is all about.
If you haven’t participated before, watch this video. Toronto’s got a pretty good track record; the last two SWTO winners went on to compete against hundreds of international teams, and won the Global Startup Battle. THAT’S TWO YEARS IN A ROW!
You can sign up to volunteer here. On top of supporting the development of new-born startups, you’ll get meals all weekend, cool SWTO swag, and a seat to watch the final pitches on Sunday. And don’t forget the after-party. There are a few spots left — so act quickly!
Feel free to reach out to if you have any questions.
It’ll be cool to see some of you there. 🙂
The Organizing Team

Getting Ready for #SWTO

Startup Weekend Toronto is almost here!

The organzing team is pulling together all the details to make your weekend the best.  Get lots of rest, practice your one minute pitches and recruit your friends to join us.

Here are some Questions and Answers to help you prepare for the weekend:

Q. How do I get more information about the Weekend?

A. Follow us on twitter (@startupwkndTO), like us on Facebook (Startup Weekend Toronto) and watch the blog ( for updates over the next few days for announcements.  You can also start practicing your tweeting for the event using hashtag #SWTO.

Q.  Are there any tickets left?
A. There are a very limited number of tickets left for designers, makers, and developers here.

Q. What should I bring?
A. Your laptop (optional but recommended), power cords, connectors to overhead projector, lots of enthuasism, mobile device for the global hashtag battle.

Q. What should I do to prepare?
A. Get lots of sleep, figure out what problem could be solved by the Internet of Things that you can pitch, practice your pitch, do a bit of research on your idea (are others already doing it? how big is the market?).  Check out this blog post for pitch tips.

Q. How do I get to the event? Is there parking, transit, and bike stands?
A. MakeWorks is as 1139 College Street, just west of Dufferin St., on the south side.  There is limited metered street parking, so you might want to park at the Dufferin Mall (about 3 blocks north) – but we can’t officially recommend this since you might get towed!  If you are taking the TTC try the 506 College streetcar or the 29 Dufferin bus (south from the Dufferin subway station or north from Exhibition Place).  There are a few city bike stands on the sidewalks outside MakeWorks.

Q. What supplies and gear is provided?
A. You’ll have access to 3D printers and a laser cutter, from our sponsor MAKELAB. On Saturday we can use the tools and space at The Shop. Plus we have a bunch of core components to build with. Check out this blog post for the full list.

Q. I have more questions.  How can I get them answered?
A. Post them on our Facebook page or tweet at us.

See you all on Friday!

Tips for Friday night pitches

Are you getting excited about Startup Weekend Toronto – Internet of Things Edition?

Here’s some links and tips for your pitch on Friday night. Components of a great pitch: Hi, I’m [name]! The problem solving is [problem]. My solution is [solution]. To do this, we’ll need [team]. Where [name] = [your real name OR nickname], [problem] = the thing that your are trying to solve AND who does it help], [solution] = [name of your solution AND why it is unique AND how it used IoT], if time permits [team] = [types of people who can help you solve the problem].

  • Who can make a pitch? Anyone who has a ticket to the Weekend (sorry volunteers, mentors, and judges – you’ll have to get a ticket to pitch!). All participants are encouraged to make a pitch!  It’s part of the fun of Startup Weekend.
  • How long are the pitches? No longer than 60 seconds.  There will be a timer and you’re time is up at exactly 1 minute.
  • How do I sign up to make a pitch? Just show up Friday night.  When it’s pitch time, put up your hand if you’d like to make a pitch – you’ll get a big piece of paper with a number.  Put the name of your idea on the top of the page.  We will call people up to pitch in order based on the number on your paper.
  • Can I use a slide presentation for the pitch? You can use props but no slides.  Remember, you only have 1 minute.
  • Can I pitch an idea I’ve already been working on? No!  Startup Weekend is all about meeting new people and creating innovative solutions to real problems TOGETHER.  You can research your idea ahead of time. If you come with an idea you’ve already worked on, it’s not fair to the other participants and teams.  Play fair – as a general guideline – if you’ve created code, a logo, snagged a domain name, or already sold something – then don’t pitch it during the weekend.  You will meet some amazing people who may be able to help you with your existing idea after the weekend.
  • How will the pitches be voted on? Each participant will get 3 Post-It Notes.  Each represents a vote.  The pitch ideas will be posted around the room. Place your votes on the ideas you like best.  You can vote for each idea once – so be prepared to pick your favourite 3 pitches.  You can vote for yourself – but only once!  The pitch ideas with the most votes will move on to form teams and build the idea during the weekend.
  • My pitch idea was not selected, can I still work on my idea during the weekend?  Yes, but you need to recruit at least two other participants to be on your team.  Also, maker supplies will first be distributed to teams that were voted in.  We’ll try our best to get you maker supplies but we can’t guarantee that there will be enough to go around.  Your best bet is to join another team.

Here are some other resources:

5 Things to Expect at Startup Weekend – by Global Startup Battle Winner

Guest post from Greg Connell – team member on Startup Weekend Toronto’s first place team and Global Startup Battle Champion (2012) for GroupNotes.
Startup Weekend Toronto 2012 - Groupnotes
Startup Weekend Toronto 2012 – Groupnotes
1. Late nights and lots of coffee
Startup Weekend kicks off Friday night with 1 minute pitches and ends with the final presentations on Sunday evening. That’s not a whole lot of time to do everything needed to wow the judges, including customer validation, design, and the actual building of your idea. To make the most out of this time, you might have to sacrifice some sleep. Be prepared to stay up late coding and up early the next morning getting back at it. I promise, it’ll be worth it. And coffee helps!
2. Learn something new
Have you been wanting to learn a new coding language like Node.js, play with cool things like Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and 3D Printers, or have an idea you think could turn into a business? Well there’s no better place to do it then a Startup Weekend.
3. Meet some cool people
MakeWorks is going to be packed full of talented designers, developers, hardware hackers, marketers, and people who love startups. Expect to work closely with your team and mingle with everyone else. You never know, that person might be your future co-founder, next employee, or someone who can help you with your day job.
4. Actually build something
Startup Weekend’s slogan is “No talk, All action”. That means there’s no time to hum and haw over options and there’s certainly no red tape to cut though. If you have an idea, you can build it immediately. Aim to have something built by the final presentation on Sunday and maybe, if you’re brave enough, even do a live demo!
5. Mentorship and advice from experts
At Startup Weekend, there will be a whole slew of mentors there to help your team out. These will be people with a whole lot of experience building things so I suggest you ask them questions and have them scrutinize your plan. The more help you get, the better your final pitch will be and the better chance you’ll have at taking home the grand prize!
Bonus: You’ll quit your job and start a company
This might not happen to everyone, but I’m willing to bet it will happen to someone. Over the course of the weekend, you’ll be validating your ideas, talking to customers, and building a ton of awesome things. But after Sunday, everything doesn’t have to stop. You can take what you’ve worked on and turn it into a real business that might even let you quit your job. It happened to my team at Startup Weekend Toronto in 2012. Who will be next?
Greg Connell

Nov. 4 – Information Session for Startup Weekend Toronto

Please join us Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 6pm for an information session about Startup Weekend Toronto – Internet of Things Edition.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 4, 6pm

Where: EndLoop, 45 Camden St. Suite 300 (third floor) – near Queen St. West & Spadina

There will be a short talk about why participating in a Startup Weekend is so flippin’ amazing and a Q&A session with past winners.

No need to RSVP – just show up!

How will Startup Weekend Toronto change your life?

Startup Weekend Toronto returns on Nov. 21-23 with the Internet of Things Edition!

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings together Toronto designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts from all domains to do amazing things and build real businesses. And this year we’ll be focusing on solving problems with Internet enabled “things”.

From the excitement of the Friday night pitches, to the intense anticipation of the announcement of winners on Sunday, with all the building, tinkering, designing, debating, validating and laughing in between, you don’t want to miss this Internet of Things edition of Startup Weekend Toronto.

Young or old, shy or bold – everyone is encouraged to step away from your regular gig for a weekend and join the fun. You might even create a business that will become your new gig!

Get your ticket before they sell out here.

Do you have an idea or problem to solve? Great! Grab a ticket and make a short pitch on Friday night. Excite enough participants and you’ll see your idea come to life by Sunday.

Did you recently learn to design, develop or make? Fantastic! Startup Weekend is the ideal place to practice your skills and meet lots of encouraging mentors. Who knows? Maybe you’ll connect with a mentor who will help you along your career path.

Do you like to build things? Awesome! Get your ticket now so that you’ll be able to tinker with fun maker stuff, like 3D printers, a fully stocked workshop, Arduinos, Raspberry Pi’s and more.

Would you like to meet like-minded creators, artists, hustlers and raising stars? Who wouldn’t! Startup Weekend is the ideal place to make new friends and connections, especially since many of the participants will be attending on their own and want to meet people like you!

Are you super competitive and want to help Toronto win the Global Entrepreneurship Battle for the 3rd year in a row? Super duper! Be one of the winning teams for Startup Weekend Toronto and you’ll go on to compete against teams worldwide for mind-blowing prizes.

Are you still reading this and haven’t clicked the link to get your ticket? Doh!!! Do it now before tickets  sell out.

Participants at the 2013 Startup Weekend Maker Edition
Participants at the 2013 Startup Weekend Maker Edition


My first Startup Weekend Toronto

I had an idea… but no clue what to do with it…

Despite two business degrees and fifteen years working in marketing, I didn’t know how to take my first entrepreneurial steps.  As a thirty-something mom and full time government employee, I signed up for the 2nd Toronto Startup Weekend in June of 2011 with much apprehension and anxiety.

Before the event, I can remember scouring the Internet to find out what Startup Weekend was all about.  I found some early media coverage and a couple of blogs and learned that I’d have to pitch my idea and get enough votes to have my idea built over the weekend.  I read that there would be some networking before the short pitches so I created 8 powerpoint slides, shrink them down tinny tiny and mounted them in a View Master toy so that I could show the other participants my idea before I pitched.  It was a rather strange presentation method but I was able to engage with a handful of participants who encouraged me with smiles during my one-minute pitch. The pitch itself whizzed by so quickly and I was excited that I finally had shared my ideas in public.

When the voting was complete, the energy and excitement of finding teammates to help build the idea over the weekend was intense.  I remember having all these strangers come up to me saying, “Hey, I like your idea – do you need a back end coder/UI designer/front end guy” and thinking to myself that I didn’t even know the difference between a front end and back end coder. [And what the heck was Ruby on Rails?!.. they asked if we could use it and I thought that they were referring to a jewellery shop on a train!].  That night I met 7 amazing people who built a business over the weekend and became life long friends, mentors, and partners.

Saturday and Sunday were a real blur of activity, ideas, and creativity.  I outlined the problem we were trying to solve and the team collectively came up with brilliant ideas to solve them.  It was a real collaborative effort, with everyone bringing a different skill set to the team.  We broke into mini teams of front end and UI design, back end coding and database set-up and customer validation.  Together we built a working website, with a back end database, and recommendation algorithms, all validated with an online survey and guerrilla style interviews on the street.

One of my fondest memories was late Saturday night.  Everyone was jamming away and a crowd had gathered around one of the team members.  I asked one of the spectators what they were watching and he exclaimed, “You have one of the best coders in Canada on your team – it’s so cool just to watch him code!”  It highlighted to me how Startup Weekend brings people of so many backgrounds and skills together to achieve something so remarkable in only 54 hours.

The final pitches on Sunday were a blast.  We had formed a tight team and, since our product was targeted to expectant parents, we took a team picture of all of us pregnant (with balloons under our shirts).  One of the guys (thanks – Steven!) even pretended to be pregnant at the beginning of the presentation, which made the crowd chuckle and got the pitch off to a good start.  The five minutes went by so quickly and I was so proud of what we had accomplished together, even if we didn’t win.  It was also amazing to see the progress of all the other teams had made and I felt thrilled to be part of such a wonderful, vibrant community of entrepreneurs.

The event itself was over, but the experience continues to this day.  I’m still in touch with most of the team members and one even became my co-founder.

By Alison Gibbins, Startup Weekend Junkie and part of the organizing committee for Startup Weekend Toronto – Internet of Things Edition on Nov. 21-23, 2014.  Tweet your Startup Weekend questions to me at @alivey or @startupwkndTO.

Announcing: Startup Weekend Toronto – Internet of Things Edition


Startup Weekend Toronto
November 21st-23rd, 2014

Pssttt… did you hear?  Startup Weekend Toronto is back and the theme this year is “Internet of Things Edition”.

So get your thinking caps on and identify problems that could be solved by “the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure.” [source: Wikipedia]

In other words, come out for the weekend and create super cool enterprises that use physical and digital stuff to solve real world problems.

More details to come but for now, reserve your tickets before they sell out!