I’m a sucker for clever names, and naming a toolbox the Coolbox is definitely clever. But this soon-to-be product is not yet available for purchase. Its developers used crowdfunding (Indiegogo) to raise more than $262,000 (so far) to put the box into production. According to them, production in volume will begin this summer.
What is the Coolbox? It's a tool box with all manner of tech built into it:
20-volt rechargeable battery
A Bluetooth speaker (built into the front)
Two USB ports
Three 120-volt receptacles
There’s even a bottle opener on front, and in one of the videos, a guy ices some beer in an internal compartment (okay, now I’m getting interested).
I don’t know the people who developed this product, won't vouch for it, and can’t guarantee it will ever get made. I’m showing it here (video below) because I think it’s both clever and outrageous. Would I buy one? I don’t know; I think I’d have to see it in person.
But that’s not the way crowdfunding works. It generally goes like this: Someone develops a product, they promote it online, and then they ask people to “contribute” to its production. Contributors are supposed to receive some consideration—a free this or that or “special pricing” on the product when it comes out. Early-bird pricing for the Coolbox is currently $179.
I’ve written about crowd-funded tools before. The Hangman (Can’t Get it Yet: Hangman Tool Holder) debuted at last year’s JLC LIVE New England, and can be purchased from the manufacturer and at a single paint store. The Cole-Bar Hammer (Can’t Get it yet: Strange Folding Hammer), which was funded to the tune of $135,000 in 2013 via Kickstarter, has yet to come out. The developers of the Cole-Bar claim to be having trouble finding someone to manufacture a particular component of the tool for a reasonable price. I’m not suggesting there is any dishonesty involved; I’m just saying buyer beware.
Contributing to a crowdfunded project is akin to investing in a high-tech startup. If things go well, you receive the gizmo and it works as advertised, but if things go south, you lose the money you put into it or end up with an item that's not what you hoped it would be.
The video below is a pitch for funding (an ad) made by the Coolbox’s developers. It’s worth watching just to see all the crazy stuff that’s built into the box.
By the way, I meant no offense in my earlier comment about tech-obsessed hipsters. I’m definitely into tech and if hipsters had existed 20 or 30 years ago I might have become one. But it's probably a little too late for that now.