Former Dragons’ Den contestant Rugged Interactive is the latest to announce plans to join Bristol’s fast growing tech hub, Future Space.

The innovative sports equipment company will be joining the likes of Open Bionics, who create 3D-printed bionic prosthetic arms, and gaming robot creators Reach Robotics to utilise the cutting-edge laboratory facilities and enjoy a plethora of new connections to build their business with.

Future Space has been funded as a part of the £16 million University Enterprise Zone and functions as a co-working space for science and tech SMEs.

“The close proximity of other tech companies was an unexpected but valuable bonus”


Rugged Interactive gamify sport. Many people feel that traditional exercise is dull as well as laborious, but this innovative solution makes the individual workout fun! Unsurprisingly, it’s main buyers include trampolining centres and primary schools.

We caught up with Simon Heap, Founder and Design Director of Rugged Interactive, to find out more, “We create products that use motivational fitness technology to get more people active more often. We’re a fast growing company having set up in 2010 and doubled our turnover every year since then; we’ve now successfully reached the £1 million mark.”

Bouncing to the future

After rejecting a £100,000 offer in return for a 30% share of the business from ‘Dragons’ Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones, Rugged Interactive turned to Bristol.

The company is joining the University of the West of England’s new tech and digital space with the intention to expand its commercial team, as well as build relationships within the South West’s renowned tech community.

Originally, all business was being conducted in Cornwall, but the team is eager to branch out to a wider audience.

Rugged Interactive wants to take advantage of Bristol’s links to boost sales of its product. In addition, it is keen to explore new areas that could benefit from its unique sports equipment, such as elderly care homes and rehabilitative centres.

A soft landing

The launch of Future Space has come at an ideal time for Rugged Interactive. Simon says, “Although our HQ, design and manufacturing facility are still based in Fowey we wanted a location more up-country for a commercial office and Bristol was the natural solution.

“We intend to become the leaders in our field”


“We were looking for a great space that reflected our tech credentials but that wasn’t a huge plate glass building – differing spaces that allowed us to move and grow. The close proximity of other tech companies was an unexpected but valuable bonus and the great meeting spaces enable us to host visitors when necessary.”

The team have big plans for the future. When asked, Simon tells us, “World domination!”

And this isn’t some elaborate joke: “We already sell to many different countries from the USA to Kazakstan and everywhere in between so we intend to build on that and become the leaders in our field.”

Elaine McKechnie, the Centre Director at Future Space, comments, “We’re thrilled to welcome Rugged Interactive to our growing list of clients. Future Space is now at nearly two-thirds occupancy within its first year, with nearly 30 clients.”

Want to join in with all the Future Space action? Book a tour and check it out here!

Thanks to Simon for taking the time to talk to us. You can check out Rugged Interactive’s website for more information or to keep up to date with its latest news, follow them on Twitter here: @ruggedinteract.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.