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SPARKies shortlist focus: Future SPARK

The ‘Future SPARK’ is new to the list of awards being presented at this year’s SPARKies awards and is all about recognising young, up-and-coming tech talent in the region.

Nominees had to be 25 or under and in full time education up to January 2012, in addition to which they had to demonstrate a flair for digital innovation above and beyond the call of their studies. The shortlisted entries are testament to the incredible dedication and drive that these gifted youngsters have at a time when many of their peers are most likely to be found in one of the local bars…

UrbanTribe was started by friends Nicolas Carey and Yael Fainsilber whilst studying at the University of Bath. Having originally developed the business by providing free notepads to students paid for by advertising, they quickly adapted the concept to embrace the student shift towards digital media. Their platform provides the first port of call for online discounts to local bars, restaurants and other services in the city. They have also recently signed an agreement with the Students’ Union to provide a platform for promoting deals and events on campus.

Current University of Bath student Ollie Marshall is co-founder of online ticketing platform GoTag, which has grown rapidly into the number one provider of tickets for nightclubs in the city. Ollie began work on the project 18 months ago (despite only being in the first year of his Computer Science degree) and reached the final of the university’s Business Plan Competition in 2012. There surely can’t be a better endorsement of is achievements from the local tech community than for GoTag to have been selected as the ticketing platform for this year’s Digital Festival!

Rounding off the three finalists are yet another pairing from the University of Bath. Computer Science student James Isbister and International Management student Alex Marshall were winners of the Students’ Union app design competition (“Apps Crunch”) in 2012 and have gone on to develop their visual learning app to the point of imminent launch on iOS. ‘InBrain’ is based on the Method of Loci principle for learning, whereby information is more easily recalled if it is linked to a known visual object. App users link pieces of information (beit from websites, notes, video clips or other media) to regions of a familiar image, creating a highly visual ‘mind-map’-style resource. James has coded the app in collaboration with local developers Intohand, and is about to start with the company on a 6 month work placement.

The FutureSPARK award has been kindly sponsored by Deloitte Digital, the new tech arm of the venerable service provider firm, as part of their on-going commitment to supporting the development of the southwest’s brightest young entrepreneurs.

The three shortlisted entrants, as well as a cohort of students from across the region’s universities, will be at the SPARKies awards evening at Komedia on the 20th March.

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