Toy figures tell their stories

Boxine GmbH, Düsseldorf: nominated for a German Entrepreneur Award 2019 in the Rising Star category

A new and child-friendly way of listening to audiobooks and music – that’s Tonies from Düsseldorf-based Boxine. The original Toniebox has been a smash hit in playrooms all over Germany, impressing even the German Entrepreneur Award’s estimable panel of experts. For their extraordinary success in a highly competitive market, the experts nominated Boxine for a German Entrepreneur Award 2019 in the Rising Star category.

About the company

Year established 2013
Founders Patric Faßbender, Marcus Stahl
Seed Capital 600,000 euros
Turnover 2018 60 million euros
Employees 102

Children love fairy tales, stories and music, but even in the age of the Internet, parents are still battling with broken CD players and CDs that keep jumping. Facing similar annoying issues at home with his own kids, creative director Patric Faßbender was messing around with plastic figures at his desk when suddenly it went “click”. His idea: the Toniebox from Boxine. The player is a soft and cuddly padded cube that children can take to bed with them. Content is not pressed on CD but tucked away in beautifully designed toy figures. When you pop a Tonie onto the box it will tell you a story or play music. There’s a lot of choice, ranging from classics like Little Red Riding Hood right through to modern learning content.

“We saw only opportunity not risk.”


“My enthusiasm knew no bounds, because I’d been on the lookout for a new professional challenge for some time”, remembers trained graphic designer Patric Faßbender (48). The design wasn’t an issue, but what about all the technical stuff? “Then I remembered another father I knew from our kids’ playgroup.” In the middle of the night the creative designer sent engineer Marcus Stahl an email outlining the initial Tonies concept – and struck home. “I too was looking for a new professional challenge and knew at once that this was it”, said Stahl (51). Diving straight into business wasn’t a problem; both men had “always wanted to do our own thing”. They resigned from their jobs and, financed by “family and friends”, invested three and a half years, several million euros and “blood, sweat and tears” in developing the patented and unique Tonies. “We saw only opportunity not risk.” In September 2016 the pair started up with 19 toy figures. They focus on selling the “products requiring explanation” in stationary retail stores. Christmas 2016 saw 30,000 starter boxes fly off the shelves, resulting in a turnover of 2.2 million euros in the first four months of the start-up. The following year Boxine made a profit, and in 2018 turnover increased to 60 million euros. To date, more than a million boxes, which cost about 80 euros, have been sold over the counter at one of over 3,000 retailers, not including more than 10 million toy figures at 15 euros a piece.

Boxine GmbH

Daniela Lörks
T (0211) 54 25 40 73

This exciting success story in the highly competitive market for toys inspired the enthusiastic panel of experts to nominate Boxine for a German Entrepreneur Award 2019 in the Rising Star category. The experts praised the “convincing idea” and its “outstanding implementation” by the entrepreneurs, who managed to “establish a brand in such a short time”. The "remarkable growth figures" and the "positive future prospects" of the Düsseldorf-based company, which "has created more than 100 jobs" and "is continually evolving", also made an impression. In the meantime there are also figures on which children can record their own content. Products for older children aged 10 and above are as well in the pipeline. Boxine now has its sights set on the European, North American and Chinese markets. “Being nominated for a German Entrepreneur Award is such an honour, it’s something really special”, declared the partners, who have meanwhile become friends. “The Entrepreneur Award’s network in a veritable “who’s who” of the German business world and we are thrilled to benefit from their competencies. What’s more, the media attention is bound to boost our visibility.”