Toys & Play

Consumer products designed for children or adults for the purpose of activating play and creative exploration. Examples include: children’s toys, board games, art supplies, DIY kits, educational toys, electronic toys, musical instruments, etc.

2024 Toys & Play Jury

  • Jury Captain

    Kevin Williams

    Founder & CEO OgoSport

    Kevin Williams, a product developer based in coastal South Carolina, graduated with a Masters in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in 1995. He has since founded several design-focused companies including MAKE, CAKE, Everest Columbarium, Ogosport, and Plan C. In 2006, alongside Rick Goodwin, he started Ogosport, a toy and game company. Ogosport's innovative products are distributed in over 40 countries and have earned multiple nominations and awards, including the TOTY (Toy of the Year) from the Toy Industry Association. Kevin is deeply passionate about design, emphasizing user experience and play value in his work.

  • Jury Member

    Alex Hochstrasser

    Founder & Designer MOLUK

    Alex Hochstrasser is a Swiss designer and inventor and one of the pioneers of contemporary open-ended toys.

    He studied industrial design at the University of Art and Design in Zurich and worked for renowned design firms in Barcelona, San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo. In 2001, he launched his first toy, Bilibo. The open- ended play shell was an instant critical and commercial success, winning a TOTY and numerous other international awards. Alex continued his vision of analog, abstract play objects that encourage children to move and explore with MOLUK, a label he founded with his sister in 2011 - developing an iconic range of open-ended toys that all work together and complement each other. 16 MOLUK toys have won Germany's prestigious spiel gut® award for their unique design and outstanding play value. Alex's work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris, and has been featured in exhibitions at the Vitra Design Museum and MoMA New York.

  • Jury Member

    Jon Levy

    SVP M&A & Venture Spin Master

    Jon Levy joined the Spin Master Ventures team in 2021. A passionate entrepreneur in the children’s entertainment industry, Jon co-founded Mastermind Toys, a highly successful Canadian retail toy chain, in 1984. From a niche beginning selling educational computer games for children, Jon’s vision grew into a passion to find the very best of everything kids would be excited to play with and learn from. During his career, he developed a unique expertise for curation, presentation, and marketing toys, defining the Mastermind Toys experience

    He now brings his experience cultivating life-long partnerships with toy inventors and creators from around the world and decades of business development acumen to Spin Master Ventures. Jon is continuing his life’s passion to find the most talented entrepreneurs; unique start ups and creative inventors by traveling the world and engaging with disrupters in the industry. At Spin Master Ventures, he is focused on finding the right opportunities to invest in the future of play and accelerate growth through partnering with the aspiring toy business leaders of tomorrow.

  • Jury Member

    Steve Starobinsky

    SVP Trends & New Markets Gel Blaster

    A veteran of the toy industry of over 20 years. Selling retailers in all sectors in North America with a focus on trend writing a trend forecasting. My last two projects were launching MIND THE GAP, a game that was acquired by Spin Master and most recently Gel Blaster - one of the fastest growing toy companies in North America!