Bristol-based pioneer in wearable social distancing devices, SpaceBands, has built upon its success during the pandemic and pivoted into the wider health and safety market with a £450,000 investment.

The wearable tech startup’s first wrist-worn device, launched in May 2020, helped employees stay safe during the pandemic by storing contact tracing data and vibrating when users are less than 2m apart.

The company sold its devices to more than 1,000 businesses – including the likes of the NHS, MoD, Panasonic, Sony & Amazon – and is now leveraging that customer base to expand its new multi-feature hazard alert system, tackling a broader spectrum of workplace safety issues.

Designing a hazard alert wearable

Workplace injury and ill health costs the UK economy £16.2 billion annually, according to the Health and Safety Executive, and can devastate lives and families. SpaceBands’ latest wearable addresses these challenges by prompting employees to take action on wellness and helping employers to make more informed decisions about workplace safety.

Ronan Finnegan, Co-Founder, SpaceBands, describes some features of the new wearable and SaaS platform; “the device monitors heart rate, prompts users to take a break and alerts them to numerous hazards such as dangerously loud noises or close machine proximity i.e. if there’s a forklift behind you.”

Health and Safety managers can access reports on SpaceBands’ mobile or web app and retrospectively analyse overall workplace safety.

“If there’s 100 alerts for loud noises in a week, the company can take action by investing in better ear defenders,” says Ronan.

“We’re expecting it to be a real game changer in terms of workplace safety, well-being and insurance.”

SpaceBand’s investment readiness journey has been supported by Innovate UK EDGE Access to Finance Specialist, Ed Tellwright, who helped SpaceBands develop a clear, compelling and credible investment proposition.

“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,” says Ronan.

The company has raised investment from angels within well-respected networks: Henley Business Angels, South Angel Investors Club and Dorset Business Angels. They’re also in the latter stages of due diligence with a respected institutional VC.

SpaceBands will use the funds to hire six members of staff and further its product development.

The company’s growth journey has also been supported by Innovate UK EDGE Design Thinking Specialist, Sarah Dickins, who helped the company pivot from social distancing devices into the wider health and safety market.

“Sarah helped us to survey our existing customers on what they needed from a health and safety wearable, and examine the responses beyond their face value, analysing them figuratively and thinking outside the box,” says Ronan. “It’s been extremely valuable to us as a business.”

Last week, SpaceBands launched its Seedrs page where it aims to raise an additional £250,000.

Innovate UK EDGE will continue to support as this Bristol innovator expands further into the global health and safety market with its pioneering new device.