A Bristol start-up whose wearable tech has been used by global firms to implement social distancing measures during the pandemic has secured funding to pivot to the wider health and safety market.
SpaceBands previously developed a wristband designed to encourage school children to keep two metres apart to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The bands are designed to light up, vibrate, and beep when users get too close to another person wearing the device.
The business – founded by Bath school friends Harry Kimberley-Bowen and Ronan Finnegan – went on to sell the devices to more than 1,000 organisations including Amazon, Sony, Panasonic, the NHS and the MoD.
SpaceBands has now developed a new wearable device which aims to encourage staff and employers to help improve workplace health and safety.
The device monitors heart rate, prompts users to take breaks and alerts them to numerous hazards, such as dangerously loud noises or proximity to machinery. Health and safety managers will be able to access reports on a connected mobile or web app.
The company has raised £450,000 to develop the new product with Development Bank Wales, Henley Business Angels and Southern Angel Investors Club contributing to the funding round.
SpaceBands said it would use the funds to hire six members of staff and further its product development. The business has also launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise an additional £250,000.
Mr Finnegan said the firm’s new device could be “a real game changer” in workplace safety, and insurance. He added the company has also been receiving support from government innovation agency Innovate UK EDGE, including access to finance specialist Ed Tellwright.
Mr Finnegan said: “Ed gave us some great feedback about our pitch and helped us avoid some key mistakes that we would have almost certainly made in front of investors.”
Jurek Sikorski, founder and director of Henley Business Angels, added: “We are delighted to have SpaceBands secure investment from Henley Business Angels members, alongside others. This will enable them to deliver an enhanced version of the wearable product and hub combination, boosting the growth prospects for the company.”
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