Vienna-based ToolSense nabs €3 million to bring live-tracking IoT to power tools

Austrian startup ToolSense, which is giving power tool manufacturers a competitive advantage with its after-sales IoT solutions, has closed a €3 million seed round. The seed financing round was led by btov’s Industrial Technologies Fund as well as existing stakeholders aws Gründerfonds, Segnalita Ventures, Martin Global AG and Dr. Georg Hoblik GmbH.

Since its foundation in 2017, ToolSense has established its intelligent IoT solution bringing live-tracking and sensor data-analytics to hand-operated power tools. The startup now has more than 30 customers, including companies such as Stihl, Tyrolit and Wolff. 

In short, ToolSense provides the digital link between machine manufacturers and their end customers. Consisting of an IoT hardware as well as a web and app application, machine builders can gain up to 10% sales increases by using ToolSense. In contrast, process costs for service cases can be reduced by up to 90%. End customers also benefit from functions such as automatic display of the machine location and digital inventory of the entire machine fleet, regardless of make.

ToolSense technology offers these ‘Smart Services’ for manufacturers, such as automated delivery of spare parts and maintenance kits, automation of customer interactions in the service process or predictive maintenance. Manufacturers can therefore provide their customers with the necessary repairs and maintenance, avoiding high repair costs. This not only increases the service life of the machines, but also prevents cost-intensive downtime.

ToolSense is suitable for cleaning and municipal technology, the construction industry, agriculture, production and machine tools, among others. As a result of ToolSense’s broad field of application, and a high demand for digitalized processes in customer service, its turnover tripled last year. To meet demand, ToolSense aims to hire more employees for software development, product management, sales, marketing and project management in addition to the 23-member team. Moreover, the technology is to be further developed for new functionalities.

Alexander Manafi, founder of ToolSense GmbH, says: “ToolSense offers the technological basis for Smart Services: On the one hand, we provide a modern, scalable and secure after- sales platform and IoT solution. On the other hand, as a competent and experienced busi- ness partner, we provide support in the after-sales area and thus help our customers to in- crease their turnover. With this investment, we are increasing our capacities accordingly and are well prepared to support many more machine manufacturers in their after-sales journey”.

It’s worth noting that due to COVID-19, there has been a significant sales drop in the mechanical engineering sector, with incoming orders for new machines slumping by more than 30% in some cases. ToolSense aims to help machine manufacturers counteract these declines in sales with increased after-sales activities and new service models.

Benedikt Kronberger, partner at btov, says: “Various customers operate machines from several manufacturers at the same time, but only want to use one single software platform and connect it to the existing IT systems accordingly. This is where ToolSense comes in – for example, facility managers can use ToolSense to centrally manage and locate all cleaning machines from different manufacturers that are in use. The ToolSense team has convinced us of the vision of providing machine manufacturers with direct and straightforward customer access using the ToolSense platform. The understanding of customer needs and hence the quality of customer service can be significantly improved.

Ralf Kunzmann, Managing Director of aws Gründerfonds, says: “The traditional industries show enormous digitisation potential. The development of ToolSense and its customer-ori- ented access are aimed at exploiting this potential internationally and confirm our investment decision. Together with our co-investors, we support the further internationalization and thus consistently support the growth path of ToolSense”.

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