INTERNATIONAL CHARITY VOLUNTEER INSPIRED TO LAUNCH WEARABALE SAFETY DEVICE

A potentially life-saving wearable device will soon be launched into the market by a Lincolnshire-based company, following investment from Enterprise Loans East Midlands (ELEM) and Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Tended Protect is a wrist-worn wearable safety device which monitors the movements of the user through artificial intelligence and has the ability to learn and detect ‘abnormalities’, such as a fall or strong impact. If the user does not or cannot respond to the device’s safety check, then an alert will be sent to the user’s nominated emergency contact with GPS location, health and activity information and will open the channel for live audio with the wearer.

The project is the brainchild of Leo Scott Smith, who began developing the idea at just 22-years-old. During his time as a volunteer for a charity working in Nepal, Leo often found himself alone in remote areas facing a multitude of dangers, from landslides to ambushes. Leo realised that in the event of the unthinkable, he may not be found or receive help for hours – or even days – at a time.

Speaking of the project, Leo Scott Smith, founder and CEO of Tended Ltd said:

“The idea for Tended Protect dates back to around three years ago when I was working in Nepal prior to and in the immediate aftermath of the country’s devastating earthquake in April 2015. As soon as we found out about the disaster, a team of us got on the next plane and returned to the country, being on the ground within two days to offer life-saving support to those affected whilst facing aftershocks, landslides and other potentially life-endangering situations.

“At the same time, my mother suffered a fall from a ladder whilst renovating her home. Thankfully she wasn’t seriously injured, but she lives alone and if the unthinkable had happened and it was much worse, no one would have known to help her. After scouring the market for a personal safety product which could be used in both of these situations, I started to develop the idea for Tended.

“Our goal for Tended was to develop an intelligent, innovative and affordable personal safety solution with a global reach. Similar to your standard fitness tracker, the Tended Protect can track fitness information, such as steps and calories burned, but offers the additional benefit of safety monitoring wherever the individual may be, making it perfect for hikers, extreme sportspersons and lone workers away from their main place of work.”

Through Enterprise Loans – responsible for the delivery of the MEIF Small Business Loans fund in the East and South East Midlands – Tended Ltd has been supplied with £50,000 in order to help facilitate beta testing samples, create new jobs at the firm and support product marketing to refine and test Tended Protect, as well as to fulfil its initial orders.

Carol Bratton, small business loan officer for Greater Lincolnshire at Enterprise Loans East Midlands, said:

“Leo is a very likeable person who knows where he wants to be and developed his product from personal experiences within his family and by looking at what was out there in the market to support his family's safety needs.

“This is our first completed loan in Lincolnshire from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and it couldn’t go to a more deserving organisation. We are pleased to be able to support Leo on this journey and look forward to seeing Tended Protect launch to the market and the benefits it will undoubtedly bring to countless people.”

Grant Peggie, director at British Business Bank, said:

“We are pleased to be able to support Tended in moving into new markets. It clearly demonstrates how the Midlands Engine Investment Fund aims to support small growing companies from across the Midlands to innovate and find new market opportunities.”

Samantha Harrison, head of The Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub, said:

“We are delighted that the Greater Lincolnshire LEP's £5 million European funding contribution to the Midlands Engine Investment Fund has been accessed to support a dynamic technology business. There is huge potential for this business to develop and grow, and the technology developed can also be applied across a number of our sectors. We wish Leo every success and encourage other businesses to access the Small Business Loans fund to support their growth aspirations.”