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Ainstein: From birthday gift to successful business


Like most dads, Sven Purns wanted to do something special for his daughter’s first birthday. Unlike most dads who might go out and buy a new toy, Sven actually created one himself. An instant hit, the toy has grown into a very successful business called Ainstein.

Sven initially designed the first Ainstein building blocks in the form of colourful cubes and prisms made of plastic in a 3D printer and equipped with several magnets on the inside. The magnets’ design is such that there is no north or south pole and they thus never repel or become displaced. This makes building much easier for children.

The birthday party ‘trial’ went very well, the kids loved the building blocks, and Sven has never looked back. An engineer by trade, Sven applied himself to building several machines and works out of a small basement workshop in Vienna. Conveniently located close to both his home and his daughter’s nursery, it allows Sven to pick her up within five minutes and even pop home to walk the dog over lunch. In the first few months, 50 000 building blocks were sold, mainly in Austria. “If we manage to get through to Germany, there will certainly be a shift [in business volumes]” explains Sven.

As the business started to take off, Sven found himself in need of some financing to cover costs. aws assisted the start-up and provided a guarantee for the much-needed financial support with the backing of EIF. As a result the company was able to invest in ultrasonic welding machinery and other equipment, and also had working capital to help them get off the ground. Sven now has one employee, produces about 1000 pieces per day and is already planning his next steps. For Easter 2017, he will be releasing a new line of building blocks in various new colours.

As for the company’s name, it is surprisingly not related to the German genius. The first blocks were triangular in shape, resembling the letter A, and Sven decided to name the company by combining the letter ‘A’ with the German word for ‘block’ (stein).

With his second daughter growing fast, Sven is already thinking about round Ainsteins…

Company: Ainstein (Austria)

Type of business: children’s toys

EIF financing: COSME LGF

Financial intermediary: Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft (aws)

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Austria, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/at


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