From 3D printing to digital media to artificial intelligence, the tech industry around Bristol and Bath is moving quickly, with a concentration of talent and investment making waves in the international community. We’ve put together our list of our top five startups to watch in the region. To connect with the people behind these companies, and others like them, sign up for our Techie Brekkie sessions which bring together the brightest industry minds in the South West, or follow us at @TechSPARKuk.

MapleBird

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The South West has long been associated with the aerospace industry, Bristol being the proud parent of Concorde and major operations by Boeing and Airbus. MapleBird is bringing this engineering heritage to a new future with their development of the world’s most sophisticated UAVs – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

By harnessing the economical computing power of smartphones and applying this to the most advanced lightweight materials and flying mechanisms, MapleBird have designed a set of nano Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with jaw-dropping capabilities. This is Q-branch stuff: tiny, intelligent machines ready for use in reconnaissance and rescue missions, truly ‘reinventing flight.’ The potential for this collaboration of industry experts is endless and very exciting indeed: we’ll be hearing more from them soon.

Neighbourly

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Anyone who has tried to set up a charitable project will know the feeling: you’ve got a great idea for your community but no means to make it a reality. Neighbourly solves this problem by acting as an interface between ideas and resources in the community sector.

Based in Bristol and launched by Nick Davies in October 2013, Neighbourly is growing quickly. The service has carved a niche alongside other crowd-funding sites by allowing organisations to adopt projects as a whole, rather than making smaller, one-off contributions. Project leaders upload their campaign ‘story’ – be it a beach clean-up mission or a new community café – and connect with local volunteers and organisations with the time, money or expertise needed to make the project happen. Neighbourly also makes it easy to share plans and ideas online, social media ‘noise’ being crucial for building support for a project.

Follow: @nrblyuk

TwiDAQ

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Developed by Bath digital agency Deep Blue Sky, the premise of TwiDAQ is simple: trade stock based on the fortunes of Twitter users you choose to ‘invest’ in. Easy to use and free to play, the game is as addictive as it is thought-provoking. In an industry where social media ‘influence’ is a term on everybody’s lips, TwiDAQ exposes the cost and fluctuating realities of online followership.

The fantasy stock exchange hasn’t done too badly for influence itself, with an iOS app and dedicated social feed set to increase the platform’s fanbase yet further. We’re intrigued to see what founder of Deep Blue Sky and man of ideas @JimboMorrison comes up with next.

Follow: @TwiDaq

SecondSync

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Three years old and working out of Aardman’s Bristol offices, SecondSync hosts a platform to analyse social media interactions related to TV programming. Focused on the ‘only place that hosts a real-time, public conversation about TV at scale,’ the group chews Twitter data to measure and study audience engagement, delivering their findings to broadcasters and advertisers. If you’ve read a newspaper report which cites an online viewing figure for a programme, chances are SecondSync came up with the data. Even if you don’t happen to be a media exec, the group’s blog is worth a look, charting the highest-trending topics each week.

The recipe works: having recently brokered a deal with Facebook, on 31 March SecondSync announced their acquisition by Twitter. We’re excited to see where the young business moves next, and especially how they plan to translate their services into wider US and European markets.

Follow: @SecondSync

Time Tag TV

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There’s another web-video revolution going on at Time Tag TV, based in Bath. If you’ve ever had the joy of trawling through YouTube for research purposes or tried to find a corporate video presentation online, you’ll know that the process isn’t easy or rewarding. There’s always too much irrelevant content to wade through and the process of watching a video for information can cost time you don’t have.

To counter this, industry veterans at Time Tag TV have developed software for businesses to automatically attach meta-tags to their videos. The process is easy to follow and uses the data already within the video file. Once the videos are tagged they become searchable online – making corporate films more accessible to colleagues and clients. The technology can also be applied to VCR-format videos, thereby rejuvenating video archives and making forgotten corporate films useful once more. Like all great online ideas, the premise is simple and the potential huge. We expect big things from TTTV.

Follow: @TimeTagTV

To find out more about creative tech development in Bristol and Bath, join the conversation @TechSPARKuk.