The Grypmat
Andrew Myers for TIME

A Gravity-Defying Toolbox


While working as an F-16 weapons mechanic in the Air Force, Tom Burden often found his tools sliding off the ­aircraft—a result of the fact no existing toolbox could stick to a curved surface without scratching it. So he prototyped his own, starting with the kind of bendable, nonslip mat that keeps phones from sliding off car dashboards and tweaking the material until it could withstand the kind of heat and chemicals he encountered on the job. His creation, the Grypmat ($40), got a major boost in 2017, when investors agreed to back it on the reality show Shark Tank. Since then, Burden has found customers across all kinds of professions, from surgeons to jewelry makers; he’s now on track to have sold 200,000 Grypmats by year’s end. And while he’s grateful for his success, he’s also surprised nobody beat him to the punch. “It’s not a genius idea,” he says. “It’s a clever one.” —Katy Steinmetz

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