young Sciency

Hands – Face – SpaceBands! Young Bristolians take social distancing technology worldwide

When much of the world ground to a halt in March 2020, old school friends Harry Kimberley-Bowen and Ronan Finnegan kicked into gear, developing wearable contact tracing devices that light up and vibrate when users get too close. SpaceBands is now fulfilling orders in numerous industries in the UK and around the globe.


We caught up with Ronan to ask how SpaceBands managed to get up and running so quickly. 

“We knew we had a good idea, the right skill sets and that others would be entering the market soon so there was no time to waste,” said Ronan. “I’ve previously manufactured wallets, worked as a freelance marketer and developed apps that donate to charity every time you hit snooze or miss a gym session. So it was a case of bringing that experience together quickly, developing every element of the business simultaneously.”

SpaceBands recently used the Business West Finance Hub to find a solution to its cash flow challenges. 

Business clients generally pay on Trade Credit Terms. Often these terms mean payments can arrive months after the order is fulfilled, whilst in the meantime all wages, suppliers and manufacturers must be paid. 

Enterprise Europe Network, through Business West, its South West delivery partner, suggested exploring alternative sources of funding, including Invoice Financing. Ruth Bethel, Finance Advisor in the Funding and Finance Team, introduced SpaceBands to a number of potential providers, two of which made offers of finance of £40k and £100k within just a few days.

“We weren’t even aware that invoice financing was an option and were looking at taking on debt until that conversation,” said Ronan. “My day is rammed from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep and so I wouldn’t have discovered invoice financing anywhere near as quickly on my own. It’s also that verification from Ruth that we’re making the right decision that’s just invaluable.”

Next, SpaceBands will be using Business West as a gateway organisation to the Government’s Kickstart programme, hiring ten young people predominantly in sales roles. 

“We’re only 25 ourselves so feel we can relate to the new starters and add some valuable experience to their CVs in this exciting sector” said Ronan. 

To explore, understand and access finance solutions that are right for your business, visit our Finance Hub and speak to our EEN advisors. 

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