Welcome to issue #20 of our recently launched Q&A series, Startup Spotlight.

This series is all about diving into the world-class technological innovation conducted by exciting startups. Getting to grips with the technology, the mission, and even the stories behind them.

In each edition we sit down with a different startup founder, leader, or operator in an easily digestible conversational style Q&A format.

Today we interviewed Ronan Finnegan, co-founder of spacebands. Ronan shares the extraordinary story of how a business built to help enable social distancing during the pandemic has led to the discovery of a much larger (and longer-term!) underserved problem.


  • 💙 How spacebands use technology to create a better working environment
  • ⤴️ How spacebands customers shaped their next move post-pandemic
  • 🚀 From a bedroom in Bristol to an £18.8 million year 3 sales forecast

Did you know that sickness-related absence is costing the UK economy over £77.5 billion per year? That’s a big stat, right? But what can be done to tackle it? 

spacebands identified this problem and saw a gap in the market. 

What if there was a way to stop potential incidents at work in their tracks? What if there was a way for employers to show staff that they care about them and their safety? The wheel is in motion.

A company whose debut wearable product simplified social distancing during the height of the pandemic is launching a brand-new device designed specifically to address health and safety hazards and pain-points in the workplace. Sounds cool – but how exactly does it work?

Well… the nifty wearable device alerts staff of all potential hazards including loud noises, high temperatures and moving machinery – just to name a few.

People care more about health, safety and wellbeing within the workplace than ever before, and with its affordable price-tag, scalability and user-friendly interface, spacebands have got it covered.

But what hurdles has the company faced along the way, and how did they overcome them?

What makes them different to other workplace wearables on the market?

And finally, where next?

It’s time to find out the answers to all of these questions. Here we go.👇

What is the mission of your company?

We create software and wearable technology that aims to make workplaces safer. Companies can manage their safety and well-being more effectively by using the insights from the platform's data.

- Reducing incidents

- Increasing staff availability

- Showing employees they care about their wellbeing

How are you using technology to help solve that problem? 

The brand-new wearable and SaaS platform (app and web-app) will alert for a multitude of hazards that aims to protect businesses by preventing workplace injuries, reducing staff sickness, enabling workplace wellness whilst collating a paper trail of live safety data points.

Employers will be able to make informed decisions about their workplace safety and will be able to monitor workplace stressors whilst prompting employees to action wellness at work.

What's your unique selling point? 

The industrial wearables sector is archaic. Devices that are already available on the market only manage one or two hazards, the new spacebands device will manage many and then collate this data set in a digestible format.

What have been the greatest challenges to date? 

Before the pandemic, we did not exist. Using only our personal savings, spacebands has been built from a bedroom in Bristol, UK.

When much of the world ground to a halt in May 2020, we kicked into gear, selling wearable contact tracing devices that alerts users when they get too close and break social distancing. We have sold more than 16,000 products to upwards of 1,000 customers across 30 countries and won government sales contracts.

Starting in 2020 as just a team of two, we have already proven that we can successfully bring a product to market. We knew that our first product had a lifecycle, therefore we turned to our customers to ask them what they wanted to see us do next.

Asking our customers for help was the best thing we ever did... We've gone from a team of two school friends to a team of 5 employees and we will continue to grow. We have built powerful partnerships to ensure that our business continues to thrive. We have completed The Workplace Accelerator (Singapore) and are members of the UK's #1 Business Incubator Program - SETsquared (Bristol).

The University of Bath, University of Bristol, and University of West of England have all assisted in our growth with various research projects. UK Government-led National Physics Laboratory have aided device hardware decisions and the National Composites Centre (Catapult Scheme) are presently conducting data science research to support product development.

spaceband co-founders Harry Kimberley-Bowen (right) and Ronan Finnegan (left)

What major milestones have you achieved, and what's next!?

- Early traction. VC backed. Profitable & growing

- Backed by one of the largest institutional investors in the UK

- £480K already sold in Y1 with first product (£180K EBITDA) - self-funded

- Partnerships established for strategic scaled growth

- Sold 20,000 units of gen1 in 30 countries to 1000+ customers

- Featured on: BBC News, Sky News, ITV, The Independent, The i, Apple News, MoneySavingExpert, Hello! Mag

-£18.8m in yr 3 forecast with £11.3m in profit

How can folks keep up to date with your upcoming product launch?

Head over to our website and drop your email.

Thanks, Ronan!

That's it for today! To receive further content like this (and more!) drop your email below. 👇