Former Dragons' Den star is latest client at Bristol's new tech hub

Issue date: 18 August 2017

Rugged Interactive

A fast-growing company which creates innovative exercise equipment and appeared on BBC Two's Dragons' Den earlier this year, has become the latest business to move into Bristol's new tech and science hub, Future Space.

Rugged Interactive has taken workspace at the new facility, which is part of University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), in order to expand its commercial team and build links within Bristol's flourishing tech community.

The company, whose manufacturing base is in Fowey, doubled in size last year and is forecast to do the same this year, hitting the £1 million turnover mark.

Earlier this year Rugged Interactive appeared on hit show Dragons' Den where the company was offered £100,000 investment by Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones in exchange for a 30 per cent share in the company. It was decided by both parties not to progress this offer.

Set up by Simon Heap and Harry Stevens, Rugged Interactive sells largely to trampolining centres, gyms and primary schools. Its colourful interactive fitness equipment offers a winning combination of exercising and gaming and provides a great alternative to that traditional gym equipment which many people perceive as dull.

The company is keen to boost its sales to existing markets and explore new markets such as elderly care homes and rehabilitative centres.

The new base in Bristol will allow the company's sales team easier access to the rest of the UK.

Mr Stevens said: “We were really keen to move into Future Space for two reasons – we needed a commercial office to work alongside our manufacturing base in Cornwall.

“Bristol is perfect geographically as it's not too far from Cornwall but is easily accessible from the rest of the UK.

“We were also keen to tap into Bristol's strong network of emerging high tech companies so basing ourselves at a science and tech hub like Future Space made perfect sense.”

Future Space is a science and tech workspace, run by Oxford Innovation, which aims to connect entrepreneurs and tech pioneers with scientists, researchers and graduate talent to spark collaboration, innovation and growth.

With office space and laboratories to rent on flexible terms, Future Space provides a solution for fast growing young companies that have constantly changing workspace needs. With 24/7 access, Future Space customers also benefit from a range of business support services such as financial planning or marketing advice from industry experts and access to investor networks.

Elaine McKechnie, centre director at Future Space, said: “We're thrilled to welcome Rugged Interactive to our growing list of clients. Future Space is now at nearly two thirds occupancy within its first year, with nearly 30 clients.

“As a fast growth tech company, doing something truly innovative in the health and fitness sector, they are a perfect fit for Future Space, with its focus on science and tech companies. We hope their new office in Future Space will support them in the next phase of their growth.”

Opened in August last year, Future Space is part of the £16 million West of England University Enterprise Zone which provides facilities and services to companies specialising in robotics, biosciences, medical technologies and other high-tech sectors.

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