Leo, can you start by telling us about Tended?
Tended is a fast-growing tech start-up based in Lincoln, UK, and we’ve created a personal safety device called The Tended Protect. Tended has only been going for less than a year but we have big ambitions to be the go to solution for personal safety, enabling millions of people to get out there and do the activities they enjoy, safe in the knowledge that someone will be alerted if they need help.
How have you gone about developing The Tended Protect?
The wearables market is quickly becoming diluted, with new products coming to market every week. However, there is one area which is so important yet often looked overlooked by so many, and this is personal safety. This is why we wanted to develop a simple-to-use, low-cost personal safety wearable that was available for everyone from outdoor enthusiast to lone workers. We’ve developed the Tended Protect to use advanced sensor technology and artificial intelligence to analyse a user’s movements to detect for anything unusual that would indicate a potential accident, making it the world’s first intelligent personal safety device of its kind.
How have you ended up where you are today?
The decision to create the Tended Protect came after a personal experience of mine while out in Nepal in 2015 where I was involved in the management of a small charity during the Nepal earthquakes, having been exposed to numerous dangerous situations such as landslides, aftershocks and even ambushes. At the same time, while on these aid missions I received the news that my mum had fallen off a ladder back in the UK. Although not seriously injured it could have been far worse as no-one would have known for some time as she lives alone. After this I knew I had to create something which would keep people’s friends and families updated in case a similar incident like this ever happened to others.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Running a fast expanding start-up was never going to be easy. Over the past 10 months we’ve grown from a team of one to 15. On top of this, we’ve had funding rounds fall through and had development issues which have taken months to fix. These are all classic issues that most startups face, but we managed to overcome them by pulling together as a team, often working into the early hours of the morning.
What advice would you give to other startups who have just began their journey?
Don’t underestimate the power of networking. It’s one of the most valuable tools for any start up and the best part is its free! Speak to as many people as possible, put yourself out there and talk to people, all kinds of people, from different industries and backgrounds. I actually met one of our most important contacts in an Uber pool!