With the SPARKies around the corner, we thought we’d take a retrospective look at a couple of the winners from the 2020 & 2019 awards and how they’ve progressed in the last year. As ever, each of the former winners helped to boost the tech sector in the region and continue to bolster the Silicon Gorge.

Best Scaleup: Seccl

Seccl, based in Bath, develops investment management software for financial advice firms and other financial technology companies. Having been part of the Octopus Group since 2019 they have doubled their employees over the last 12 months. 

With a focus on training those in the sector, they have almost doubled their intake for the second iteration of their ‘Digital Bootcamp’ intern scheme. The scheme lends itself to teach the skills required for a successful career in digital business. Students will be taught intermediate coding, business strategy, regulation, growth marketing, UX, analytics and more. 

With this clear focus on professional development, they have also launched a free virtual course aimed at advisers, paraplanners, operations staff and administrators who are seeking to understand the basics of APIs. It is clear that Seccl is on a trajectory to become clear industry leaders and teachers, helping to teach the skills to become paramount in the tech industry.

Find out more about Seccl in their Startup for 10 feature. 

Most Exemplary use of Virtual or Mixed Reality: Virti

Based in Bristol but with offices in both Texas and California, Virti has skyrocketed in its success over the past year. Founded by Dr. Alex Young a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon the company uses AI and augmented reality to improve and measure training. 

Named as of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2020 as well as Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2021, Virti continues to increase in their vision and as such they have achieved Series A funding of £7.2 Million to help expand their business. The deep learning technology itself has seen to improve training outcomes by up to 230% and Virti’s revenues grew 978% over the past year. 

The funding has led to new hires in the company as well as the ability to continue the curve of exponential growth Virti has seen. The technology itself has been deployed in healthcare settings around the world as well as being used in universities, corporates and public sector organisations.

Best Digital Design: Storm Consultancy

Storm Consultancy is Bath-based and bolsters the tech sector in that area. They specialised in being a forward thinking digital agency taking an idea from brainstorming to product launch. 

Over the past year they have continued to grow welcoming a host of new team members, winning two Creative Bath Awards and are currently finalists of the Bath Life Awards in the Technology and Innovation category. Bath Unlimited also credited them in their list of 21 businesses in 2021. 

Storm has created Co-forest which endeavours to bring people together to help plant trees near their town or city. Their project Acorn is the first of its kind and encourages the collaboration of like-minded individuals around Bristol and Bath to preserve the land and plant new woodland forestry. They aim to start planting in winter of 2021. 

Founders of the Year – Andy Rogers and Vlad Nanu (Amdaris)

Amdaris is known for its ability to fuse together exceptional talent with outstanding software through its specialised process. They provide software development, digital transformation and application support. 

Find out more about their pioneering approach to company culture, returning to the office post-Covid and activity-based working in their conversation with Interaction here.

Since winning SPARKie in 2020, they have firmly cemented their place in the Bristol and Bath tech cluster. They appointed a new Chief Operating Officer in Glyn Blaize; he has held an impressive number of director roles over his career, including Commercial Director, Sales Director and Operations Director at growing SMEs and Managing Director at Addocura.

Amdaris has also partnered with the Bristol Tech Festival, an event returning to Bristol October 10th – 15th, which boasts a host of events revolving around the tech sector in the area and which includes our very own SPARKies awards on the 14th. As partners, they have seized the opportunity to support the upcoming talent in the area as well as establish themselves firmly as industry leaders. 

Best Digital Design – Gravitywell

Gravitywell is a creative digital agency that uses technology and creativity to guide businesses through digital transformation and help startups blossom and achieve their goals. After adjusting their methodology after COVID-19 they aim to take a more holistic approach to each business and really get down to the building blocks of any good idea. 

After winning in 2019, Gravitywell has become sure-footed in the Bristol tech sector. In 2020 they partnered with English Heritage once more to create The Names of England, an interactive St George flag ​​arranged alphabetically from Aamir to Zyla, the names on the flag total 32,000 and each represents personal links to the history that has shaped the country we call home.

They have also launched Mezze, their own internal project and revolutionary SaaS platform designed specifically for the food industry. With powerful ordering and self-serve features, Mezze users can remove the Customer Service burden and provide a better experience for their customers. 

Most Exemplary use of Virtual or Mixed Reality – Rocketmakers

Rocketmakers offers bespoke software development and are based in Bath. They thrive in making new innovative products using an agile work approach and using the latest technologies to deliver scalability, reliability and performance. 

Since 2019, Rocketmakers has continued to build its client base, having more companies look to them for smart and quick solutions. They’ve helped startups such as TipTap, Cognisess and many others. They have also provided scale-up services with Pure Planet and Sero, and has achieved corporate innovation with companies such as The English Institute of Sport in which they created a medical fitness tracking app that is used by daily and olympic athletes. 

As well as all their commercial success they have taken a pledge to go green in light of the environmental climate we find ourselves in. As a tech company, it is difficult to achieve such goals however they have appointed a green ambassador who works within their own team to measure and control the impact the company has. They strive to achieve a neutral carbon footprint and encourage others in the sector to also complete the aim. You can find out more about their journey here!

The SPARKies will be back October 14th at 7pm, and with the ability to have in person networking once more the buzz around the awards has been palpable. With nominations closing on the 16th August we look forward to seeing the amazing companies of the Silicon Gorge and how they have helped bolster the tech sector locally as well as the tech industry as a whole.