techspark-showcase-at-engine-shedInward investment agency Invest Bristol & Bath have partnered up with TechSPARK to showcase some of the best tech in the West to an international audience from over 50 British embassies from around the world.

The UKTI delegates were introduced to winners, shortlisters and nominees from the SPARKies awards 2014 with the aim of shining a light on the very best people, products and companies that make up the tech cluster in Bristol and Bath, ranging from hot new startups to global giants.

With the companies showing off state-of-the art virtual reality games, video capture techniques and unique touchless user interfaces, among many other ground-breaking technologies, the event also served to demonstrate that the tech companies of Bristol and Bath have something truly special to offer potential investors from all over the world.

The venue, the Engine Shed, couldn’t have been better chosen, as it was shortlisted itself for the SPARKies 2014 Best Service Provider (to the tech sector) award as its role as a co-working space and tech incubator.

“This event was an excellent chance to catch up with the latest developments in the rapidly evolving South West tech and startup sector”


The night was well received, with Ben Trewhella, Managing Director of Opposable Games saying “Opposable Games were thrilled to be invited to the UKTI event held last night at the Engine Shed.

“As well as an excellent chance to catch up with the latest developments in the rapidly evolving South West tech and startup sector, we had the pleasure of introducing UKTI representatives from half the world to the exciting new world of Virtual Reality, an experience none of them will be forgetting based on the smiles and shouts of surprise.”

“I was impressed with the scope and professionalism of the other companies and I feel I was in good company!”


James Carroll, Director Evil Twin Artworks Limited agreed, saying: “I thoroughly enjoyed the event, it was great to meet people who were genuinely enthusiastic about our business.

“Our next target is looking for funding for our next projects and I felt the event helped with this as well. I was impressed with the scope and professionalism of the other companies and I feel I was in good company!”


Virtual reality: Dan Page of Opposable Games lets a willing volunteer
put their Occulus Rift demo through its paces 


The tech startups and companies showing off their innovative wares were as follows:



pesky-gnatsBristol-based game developer Opposable Games creates games that connect across platforms and devices in an inventive and compelling way. Its focus is on seizing the potential of second screen and other emerging technologies, designing new gameplay experiences underpinned by its OneTouchConnect connectivity software.

Opposable games won two SPARKies awards this year. The first, the SPARKies 2014 ‘Good’ award (for the best use of tech for doing good), was for their game Pesky gNats which takes a unique and innovative approach to helping kids overcome negative automatic thoughts (gNATs) by teaching cognitive behavioural therapy techniques in a familiar and de-stigmatising context.

The second went to founder Ben Trewhella, for the SPARKies 2014 Individual Contribution to Technology award.




Winner of the SPARKies 2014 Best Startup award,  Zynstra offer a combination of cloud and locally hosted IT services for small and medium businesses.

Its service is designed to take all the hassle out of running email, servers and so on, as their easy to install servers allow them to run it remotely, allowing the business to concentrate on what they are actually trying to do, rather than having to deal with the server crashing again.




Ultrahaptics, winner of the SPARkies 2014 Startup to Watch award, has developed a unique technology that enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything. The technology uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user. Users can ‘feel’ touchless buttons, get feedback for mid-air gestures or interact with virtual objects.

The company’s ultrasonic haptic technology will be licensed into a diverse array of markets including consumer electronics, home appliance and automotive.



 Touchy feely: Ali Hadavizadeh from the University of Bath Innovation
Centre tries out Ultrahaptic’s amazing touchless interface



Cognisess uses real cognitive science to build a platform that simplifies candidate selection and employee development for companies around the world.

Cognisess identifies and sifts candidates who best match a company’s culture – benchmarking against cognitive, emotional and personality-based competency requirements.

The candidate screening platform helps you streamline the recruiting process and dramatically improves the efficiency and effectiveness of your hiring decisions – saving you time and money.




Wriggle_PhoneWriggle, winner of the SPARKies 2014 best App award, is an app which connects hungry Bristolians with empty restaurant tables. It works on the premise that food and drink businesses always want their establishments to be filled, while consumers want to find great deals at local, independent venues. The app simply links the two.

Wriggle only highlights hand-picked independent businesses, charging a commission and filling empty spaces at short notice so restaurants, bars and venues cut waste and increase revenue.




Nth Screen is a revolutionary new social video platform that enables people to film and watch together in sync. When anyone presses record, all the mobile devices connected by the app start recording together. The captured video can then be used to make a synchronised montage of the videos in a web page.

Nth Screen is for anyone who wants to celebrate and capture togetherness, whether at concerts, skate-boarding sessions, a night out together, weddings or protests.

The startup’s innovative app  was shortlisted for the SPARKies 2014 Best App award.



 YouTube squared: Tim Kinberg shows off his Nth Screen tech which allows
multiple cameras to record the same scene for collaborative film making 




HL-liveMubaloo, the UK’s leading mobile consultancy and app developer, helps businesses plan, define and manage their mobile ecosystem, providing inspiration and building intelligent business solutions.

Working at a strategic and operational level, they deliver iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and HTML5 apps that embrace the power of mobile.

One of the apps they collaborated on with Hargreaves Lansdown, HL Live  – an easy-to-use iPad app designed to help you manage all your investments in one place – was shortlisted for the SPARKies 2014 Best App award. Also, The founder of Mubaloo Mark Mason won the SPARKies 2014 Best Mentor award.



Hugh Fulljames’ intuitive web-based relational spreadsheet tool Perceiv was shortlisted for the SPARKies 2014 Startup to Watch award.

Perceiv combines all that’s great about databases, with everything awesome about spreadsheets, but it does it without all the complexity that those two application giants usually entail.  It works by providing a super easy-to-use drag-and-drop model creation process, which gives your data or spreadsheet a solid structure into which your data and formulae can be added.




victory_at_sea_combat_22Evil Twin Artwork‘s epic World War II naval combat game Victory at Sea was shortlisted for the SPARKies 2014 Best Game award.

What makes Victory at Sea different is it’s your story. You start off as a Destroyer Captain in the Pacific, Atlantic and Med. You don’t control the fate of every unit in the war, you tell your own story and WWII happens around you. You go through the ranks, eventually becoming an Admiral and commanding your own customisable fleet from 88 Classes of ship, with thousands of ships within those classes.

On launching on Steam Victory at Sea hit number 5 in the Steam Top Sellers list and since then has developed quite a fanatical following on all platforms.




CiteAb, Shortlisted for the SPARKies 2014 Biggest success story award, is the world’s largest antibody search engine, where the best antibodies are ranked by citations in research papers. This means scientists can get straight to the antibody they need without wasting money on antibodies that don’t work. Think of it as ‘compare the market’, but for antibodies.

Although only 18 months old, it already has a worldwide reach and is disrupting the the multi-billion dollar per year life science industry.

You can find out more about the SPARKies tech awards here. Thinking Bristol and Bath might be the place to move your tech company? Inward investment agency Invest Bristol and Bath can help you make the move. You can also follow @UKTI on Twitter to keep up to date with what they are doing.  And to get all the latest tech goings on in the South West by email, why not sign up to our newsletter.