BEST OF THE WEST: ULTRAHAPTICS, COGNISESS & GLASTONBURY

It’s that time again! Every month we put three businesses in the spotlight for their recent achievements – all of whom have their roots right here in the South West.

It’s a little feature we like to call Best of the West. So welcome to July’s edition, featuring two fresh-faced start-ups and an iconic 47 year-old brand still rocking with the best of them…

ULTRAHAPTICS

Parking sensors may not get the average person too excited. However, University of Bristol student Tom Carter realised there was more to this technology than meets the eye.

Fast forward through six years of hashing them together, rigging them up to laptops and developing bespoke software to control the emitted waves, and the result is Ultrahaptics – a 45-strong-and-counting business led by Tom that enables users to feel, touch and interact with virtual objects in mid-air.

The revolutionary company, based in Bristol, has attracted interest from clients around the world and recently raised £17.9m in funding to continue developing the technology and grow both in the UK and US.

Its potential sounds incredible, not least in the everyday home. Imagine turning on the TV with the touch of a ‘button’ hovering above the arm of your sofa. No more searching frantically for the remote! Get in.

COGNISESS

Our next featured business is Cognisess, a Bath-based start-up that uses predictive analytics to help companies increase production and performance.

How so? Well, their Deep Learn engine analyses and benchmarks employee performance across multiple data points to help find new recruits and optimise existing talent. A dream tool for HR teams, without a doubt.

We wanted to give them a shout-out as they were recently invited by Microsoft to be one of just 15 representatives of the UK at the Microsoft Global Start-Up Roadshow, over in the States.

The city of Bath may be a quaint little treasure chest of Roman history, but don’t underestimate the innovation that its burgeoning tech entrepreneurs like Cognisess CEO Chris Butt continue to gain recognition for.

Congrats to Chris and co, who are sure to be on every HR director’s radar before too long.

GLASTONBURY

Picture the scene. It’s September 1970, and you’ve just paid £1 to get onto the fields of a remote Somerset farm. You’re sipping on the free milk farmer Michael Eavis provided for you and your fellow attendees, numbering somewhere in the region of 1,500, and wondering when or even if Mark Bolan will take to the stage.

Today at what is now the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, you’ll find in excess of 800 market stalls, 5000 toilets and 200,000 excited revellers across 900 acres of Worthy Farm.

Come rain or shine, this iconic festival is always spectacular. But from the accounts of those who were there this year, the general feel was that all the important things (weather, headline acts, appearances from politicians riding the crest of a wave) conspired to go swimmingly – prompting Emily Eavis to declare:

“It has to be the best one yet.”

A bold statement, given its 47 year history. And we didn’t have any attendees from the Ready ranks this year, so can’t back up the claim. But it did look and sound amazing, reminding us that it’s a real privilege to have the world’s best festival on our doorstep.

We’ll be there next year. Wait, actually it’s not on. Ok, so 2019. Definitely.