Startup Stories: Ronan Finnegan, Co-Founder of SpaceBands

We are excited to have Ronan Finnegan, the co-founder of SpaceBands, joining us to share his journey on Startup Stories.

by hao-nguyen on May 8, 2023

Welcome to another inspiring edition of Startup Stories, where we delve into the minds of start-up founders and entrepreneurs from around the world, and learn about their incredible journeys. Today, we are excited to have Ronan Finnegan, the co-founder of SpaceBands, joining us to share his story.

SpaceBands started as a bedroom project in Bristol, UK during the pandemic and has since grown into an international wearable technology company that aims to revolutionize workplace safety, well-being, and insurance. In this interview, Ronan talks about the early challenges of building a business destined to disappear, pivoting to a new product, and the unique features of SpaceBands’ wearable technology that help improve workplace safety. We also learn about the company’s growth, evolution, and major milestones, as well as Ronan’s approach to angel investing and his advice for young entrepreneurs. Finally, Ronan shares SpaceBands’ long-term goals and vision for the future. Enjoy this interview!

Are you looking for a global startup or scaleup recruitment agency? We can help connect you with world class talent around the globe, get in touch with us today!

Hey Ronan, great to be chatting with you again. For the readers who may not know who you are, let’s take it back to the beginning — what inspired you to co-found SpaceBands and what were some of the early challenges you faced in building the company?

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 20,000 products to upwards of 1,000 customers across 30 countries and won government sales contracts.

After gaining extensive press coverage and 1000+ customers globally with our social distancing device (including the NHS, MoD, Panasonic, Sony & Amazon), we are now pivoting to create a new multi-feature hazard alert system that will aim to change the future of workplace safety, well-being and insurance. Our greatest challenge was the fact that we built a business that would eventually disappear (as it was COVID-19 related), but we utilised our customer’s feedback to find a new product to build.

Can you talk about the unique features and benefits of SpaceBands’ wearable technology and how it helps improve workplace safety?

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.

Privacy is at the forefront of development, all data will be anonymous unless the wearable user (employee) decides to attribute it to themselves manually. Effectively, an employee can decide if they want to track their safety and stress at work and if not, their company can still benefit from the company-wide dataset.

How has SpaceBands grown and evolved since its inception and what have been some of the major milestones along the way?

For our first 2 years in business we were entirely self-funded, but we have just completed our Seed Funding Round: we have raised £900k. We have gone from a team of 2 in a bedroom, to a team of 6 with an office space! There have been countless learnings on this journey; the greatest growth has been in the knowledge and network we have acquired.

As an angel investor, how do you approach investing in startups and what qualities do you look for in potential investments?

I look firstly at the idea and then the visualisation of a concept. If the founders can’t tell a good story, then they won’t be able to convince buyers, team members, financiers to join their vision.

How does SpaceBands stay innovative and ahead of the curve in the constantly evolving wearable technology and workplace safety industries?

We are constantly asking for help. We have no shame in telling others when we don’t know the answer and as a result we have been surrounded with experts who all assist us. A business’ network is so important.

What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs looking to build successful startups?

If you believe in the concept wholeheartedly, it will attract others. 

What are SpaceBands’ long-term goals and vision for the future of the company?

This April we will be launching our new product after 2 years of development behind the scenes. We are very excited about the launch and the potential of this new product!

Are you looking for a global startup or scaleup recruitment agency? We can help connect you with world class talent around the globe, get in touch with us today!

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