toolbot - Automated product sharing systems for tools and more

toolbot is a sustainable rental system that makes sharing easy, fast and affordable. Users can simply log in with an App via smartphone or computer, select their tool, pick them up at a station within an hour and return them at any time. Consumables, such as bits and saw blades, can also be purchased in the app and taken out of an integrated vending machine. The system consists of a space-efficient and modularly expandable station, electronic toolboxes (that can register the completeness of parts, for example)and an IT system that connects everything and will integrate additional services in the future.

The positive effect on the climate is obvious: If 100 people share one tool instead of each buying one, 99% of emissions and material are saved during the manufacturing process. An additional advantage for the users: Unlike home use tools, toolbot’s tools are maintained regularly. In addition to tools, toolbot also plans to lend other products that are not regularly needed, such as sports equipment, toys, media products and cleaning equipment.

Industrial designer Jan Gerlach developed the idea as early as 2013 and brought in long-standing friends for the implementation whose expertise covers all required skills: Dr. Christian Lehmann, an engineer for robotics and automation technology, is the expert for hardware. Krispin Schulz brings experience as a back-end developer for fin-tech start-ups, while Falk Stöhrer stands for expertise in front-end development and Mario Drelas contributes the knowhow in microelectronics.

The prototype developed by the team for station, electronic case and software was reduced and simplified as "toolbot beta" for a first practical use. It has been running very successfully in Berlin since December 2019. In a crowd-investment campaign, toolbot is currently collecting investment for the market-ready and production-ready development of the complete product. After just one week, 200,000 € have already been collected, and the team is now in the process of setting up a laboratory so that they can get started as soon as possible.

In the beta phase, the team is already reviewing some theses and concepts and collecting data for the business model and a future roll-out. Munich Re and ERGO can support toolbot in developing calculation and evaluation models, contribute requirements for comparable applications and the development of insurance coverage for the entire product.

Further information is available at:

Interviews with start-up founders

Chris Cardé - HeyCharge
toolbot - Automated product sharing systems for tools and more

One tool, many users: Jan Gerlach and Christian Lehmann from toolbot tell us how the idea for their tool rental stations came about and why sharing is good for the climate.