Posted on September 4, 2019 by staff

Nepal disaster led to UK AI start-up


The idea for a UK AI start-up grew when its founder found his personal safety compromised during the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

Five years ago Leo Scott Smith worked for a charity that was dedicated to improving lives within the poorer communities of Nepal.

After the devastating 2015 earthquakes in the country, there were aftershocks, landslides and even ambushes which put his personal safety on the line.

“As I was often alone in remote areas, I realised that, if the unthinkable happened, I may not be found for hours, or even days,” he told BusinessCloud.

“At the same time, my mother fell from a ladder at home in the UK while renovating her house. Although she wasn’t badly injured, it could have been much, much worse, especially as she lives alone.

“Both of these events sparked the idea for the creation of a simple, wearable tech solution that could be used by any person that may have to spend extended periods alone.”

Personal safety has been a problem that has been approached by various different technologies over the years.

Scott Smith started to search the market to see what already existed for isolated people at home, plus people such as charity workers, travellers, explorers or hikers who may find themselves cut off from others, and who could be at risk.

“There was a huge gap in the market,” he said. “All existing personal safety products for individuals or for employers/employees were large and bulky, used basic technology which either relied on manual activation or heavily manned call centres which, as well as regularly resulting in false alarms, made the solutions very expensive.

“This inspired the idea behind Tended and the development of our intelligent safety solutions began. After considering the idea for a couple of years, I decided to start the process of turning the concept into a business.”

The Tended Protect wearable can be used by individuals or by companies who want to protect their most important asset: their employees.

Using artificial intelligence, Tended Protect detects accidents including slips, trips, impacts and falls, as well as long periods of no movement. It also allows the wearer to check in at various intervals, and sends SOS calls to specified contacts.

From an employer perspective, Tended’s monitoring panel provides notifications if an employee has had an accident, requests their location, and provides a full overview of the workforce at the touch of a button.

In just 22 months, Tended has grown to a 24-strong team, sold products in 11 different countries, secured pilots with some of the world’s largest companies and insurance providers, received over £1.4m in funding and has recently been named one of the UK’s most innovative and exciting early stage tech companies by Tech Nation.

“We brought on our first three employees in August 2017 and since then the company has gone from strength to strength,” said Scott Smith.

“Essentially, we are on a mission to improve the safety of millions using technology.”