Devon

Coldplay Xylobands light up Devon company's profits

Image caption Xylobands have been used at more than 60 Coldplay shows

Inventor Jason Regler was facing bankruptcy and a failed relationship when he had an idea for a wristband that would glow in time with music.

Now nearly two million Xylobands have been made, thanks to Coldplay adopting them for their world tour, and Mr Regler is on a roll.

"I thought we must be mad," said Mr Regler who has an office in Honiton, Devon. "I was absolutely terrified that they were not going to work."

The 43-year-old remembers unpacking 16,000 Xylobands that had been sent to Madrid for Coldplay's concert in October 2011.

Image caption Jason Regler has been touring with Coldplay

But with just three weeks from the time they were ordered by the band and the show, he had had no time to test them in an arena.

"We had 25 people programming each one. After the show, I had no idea what the band had thought of it."

But when he got back to his hotel he had a message on his phone from lead singer Chris Martin saying they were "beautiful" and he wanted to do it again.

Mr Regler's wristbands have now been an integral part of more than 60 Coldplay shows, along with balloons, confetti, lasers and of course the music.

It is a huge leap forward for the firm which still employs only four people but is looking to expand.

"We're snowed under and we are looking to expand but it's all happened so quickly we haven't had time," he said.

"We need more staff - we have even considered maybe partnering with someone."

The firm's success goes back to the summer of 2005.

It had been making electronic technology for children's toys, but had to file for bankruptcy after another firm failed to pay for a year's work.

"It was a really painful time," said Mr Regler, from Westbury in Wiltshire.

"I had moved out of the house and was living in the office.

"I had a couple of cans of beer and was watching Glastonbury on television when Coldplay came on."

That is when the idea of a wristband came to mind, which glowed or flashed in time with music thanks to a tiny receiver inside.

Five years later he had the chance to pitch it to Coldplay after making the highest bid in a charity auction to meet the band.

"Chris Martin loved it and ordered them for a couple of weeks' time, in Madrid," he said.

"Madrid was the craziest time of my life. Within two months I was on a plane to Glasgow for the Coldplay world tour."

Since then the Xylobands have been on tour with the band and will possibly be seen at Coldplay's performance for the closing of the Paralympics.

A band member was quoted last year that the Xylobands cost £400,000 a show.

"It is a fraction of that," said Mr Regler.

Image caption Newer versions of Xylobands could be used at home

"In fact they cost about £3 each, so a concert for 50,000 people would cost £150,000."

The band still consider them good value for money.

After the success of Madrid, the band bought a share in the firm and the rights to a percentage of sales.

Newer versions are in the pipeline that can be used at home and have rechargeable batteries.

Mr Regler wants to create a global event with the wristbands to raise money for good causes over four days "almost like a global Mexican wave".

He said: "I really hope I get a chance or a way to do some good with them somehow. It was always part of the plan if they were successful to try and use them to raise money."

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