Seven Bristol firms named Ones to Watch in Creative Industries Council’s annual list

Air Giants Limited image courtesy of Richard Sewell
Air Giants Limited image courtesy of Richard Sewell

Seven innovative Bristol businesses are among the 100 UK-wide to be named in the Creative Industries Council‘s Ones To Watch 2021 list.

Judges were looking for companies that used technology in creative and interesting ways, who solved a problem or created new opportunities, who had the potential to transform their sector, and whose idea was commercially viable.

Winners included:

Calvium, a digital agency that has developed a digital placemaking platform to improve the visitor experience and local economies of towns and cities. Their platform has been used in Salisbury, Hamburg, and Valencia.

Lost Horizon Ltd, the team behind the Shangri-La area at Glastonbury Festival. When the 2020 festival was cancelled they adopted virtual reality to bring the festival experience to fans and staged the world’s first VR festival in a digital version of Shangri-La.

Swamp Motel, who adopted Extended Reality (XR) technology to bring immersive theatre experiences to audiences stuck at home during lockdown. They were first to market in the UK with an original 3-episode interactive adventure series, Isklander.

Air Giants Limited, who – in their own words – “make super cool giant robots!” They apply soft robotic design principles at a super-scale, creating a new market for entertainment robotics and transforming large scale interactive entertainment. Their biomorphic robots – which are economical in their use of materials, being made of little more than air, fabric and control valves – can reach up to 8 metres tall and can interact with audiences.

Bristol Braille Technology CIC, which has made “a Kindle for blind people”. BBT has developed the world’s only commercialised multiline Braille display, Canute 360, which allows blind people to read books, music, and graphs. Manufactured in the UK. Canute 360 was launched just before the pandemic and BBT immediately sold out of our first production run of 120 machines.

Buttercup Learning, which has created an insect-themed early years literacy book with augmented reality. The book combines facts, phonics with an easy-to-use smartphone/tablet app to make insects accessible everyday creatures. The augmented reality gives the illusion of eye-popping 3D insects coming out of the book and into the real world.

Condense Reality, which wants to be the first UK company to offer brands the ability to stream live events like sports games, music concerts and theatre productions inside the Metaverse, using social spaces like Fortnite and Roblox, VR/AR headsets and mobile games. The company is working with CAMERA, part of Bath University, to set up a capture studio in Bristol. The aim is to create photorealistic 3D models that replicate the real subjects at such high fidelity that they appear to be high-resolution video viewable from any angle.

The UK Creative Industries Council promotes and protects opportunities for growth in the UK Creative Industries. CreaTech is one such opportunity, with high growth in investment and jobs in new emerging areas.

The CreaTech 100 Ones to Watch provide an annual showcase of innovative UK-based companies which are creating new business opportunities in B2B and B2C at the interface between creativity and technology.

The selection panel represented industry influencers and practitioners, from across the creative disciplines, and in service organisations in support of the creative industries.

Of the top 100, 25 were scale-ups and 66 were start-ups.