Pre-seed and seed investment are both early stages of venture capital funding for startups. However, there are some key differences between the two that are important for entrepreneurs to understand.

Pre-seed investment

Pre-seed funding is typically the very first round of funding for a startup. It is used to cover the costs of developing a prototype, conducting market research, and building a team. This type of funding is often provided by friends and family, angel investors, or accelerator programmes (such as SETsquared Bristol). The amount of money raised in a pre-seed round can range from a few thousand pounds to a few hundred thousand pounds.

Seed investment

Seed funding, on the other hand, is the next step after pre-seed funding. It is used to further develop the product or service, conduct more extensive market research, and scale the business. Seed funding is often provided by angel investors, seed funds, or venture capital firms. The amount of money raised in a seed round can range from a few hundred thousand pounds to a few million pounds.

So, what’s the difference?

One key difference between pre-seed and seed funding is the level of risk involved. Pre-seed funding is considered to be higher risk because the startup is still in the very early stages of development and may not have a proven track record. Seed funding, on the other hand, is considered to be lower risk because the startup has a working prototype, a team in place, and some traction in the market.

Another difference is the level of control and ownership that the investors have in the company. In pre-seed funding, the investors typically have less control and ownership in the company because the startup is still in the very early stages of development. In seed funding, the investors typically have more control and ownership in the company because the startup has a proven track record and is further along in its development.

In summary

Ultimately, pre-seed and seed funding are both early stages of venture capital funding for startups. It’s crucial that you know what stage you’re at and therefore what to ask for and what the implications are. Even if you get pre-seed investment it’s useful to also consider how seed investment will be different, if and when you go for it.

 

At Gravitywell, we love working with enthusiastic startups and can help with prototypes, pitch decks, MVPs, conceptual work and investment advice. If you’d like to discuss how we can take your idea to the next level, get in touch.

Neil Berry – Head of Development at Proctor + Stevenson

What does a back-end developer do?

The core of my work as a Back-End Developer, is of course writing code using the framework or language for the task or project. But there’s more to it than that.

On any given day, I might be building out a feature to an established application or altering how something works to provide better value to our clients. I may be investigating a scenario that is leading to undesired outcomes on the application and then proposing a solution to the team or client.

Or sometimes I’m tasked with thinking about how best to address a business need with an established system – either using a solution Proctors has previously created in a new context or using something entirely new.

Solutions we work with at Proctors are based on DrupalSymfony or AWS and across the lifecycle of a project, a back-end developer will work closely with all parts of Proctors Technology.

There are also times when we’ll work directly with our clients to understand their needs or demo how progress is going.

Watch video here.

What does a typical day look like at P+S?

A typical day is a good mix of collaboration and focus time. That can be in the office or remote, thanks to our hybrid flexible working policy.

Usually, we’ll have a brief check in with the project team we’re working with. Then there’s either a follow up with some team members to discuss a specific aspect of the work, or I’m head down working on a feature until lunch.

If I’m in the office, I’ll join everyone in the canteen – especially if it’s a pop-up lunch day or (even better) one of our monthly pre-paid lunches. If I’m at home, I may take a long lunch and go for a run or catch up with friends.

My afternoons vary depending on the day. Sometimes I dive back into working on a feature, or sometimes there’s an internal workshop or meeting with a client to talk through a piece of work.

It could also be that the day is set aside for planning and estimating forthcoming work, or training. This is in support of the training roadmaps that are set out based on the goals discussed with the leadership team.

Working with clients

We work with marketing departments across various industries. And while most have similar needs, they all face unique challenges. It’s up to the development team to craft bespoke solutions that work for them.

We have some complex systems that require varying skillsets and experience so working as a team and sharing knowledge can be crucial. In some cases, we find a solution we’ve used in one project that might lend itself well to another. This is why it’s important to build simplicity and flexibility into our solutions to help us manage time efficiently, rather than starting from zero each and every time.

Why Proctor + Stevenson?

Proctor + Stevenson is more than a company people work for; it has a real sense of community. There’s a strong support network so if you ever need to talk to someone, there will always be someone to listen. On top of that, P+S have some great initiatives. From our weekly Wednesday quiz nights to our Friday socials and even pop-up lunches, there’s always something fun going on to get involved with.

There are also plenty of charity fundraising events and other community projects we get involved with which is fantastic. And we host the annual South West Design and Digital Student Awards which is a great way for students to kickstart their career in the industry.

And it goes further than doing good for people, we also have a number of initiatives surrounding our sustainability, and we’re currently working towards our B-corp certification.

These are just a few of the ways Proctor + Stevenson works to be a positive environment for employees and clients alike. Everyone is incredibly friendly and always happy to help each other out, it’s genuinely a really welcoming community of people.

If you’re interested in working with us at Proctor + Stevenson, check out our careers page to see if any of our opportunities suit you.

Count is a collaborative data tool that aims to go beyond insights and bring data into decision-making. 

Count’s previously simple SQL notebook had evolved into something unique. They approached Fiasco Design with the challenge to bring their brand in-line with their vision for an ambitious platform that could transform how product teams make data-driven decisions. 

Too often data platforms are branded for a technically-minded (often male) audience. Count wanted to turn this on its head. The design challenge therefore was to help reposition the brand by creating a visual identity that would open up the complex world of data analysis.

Fiasco’s identity for Count draws on the ‘aha’ moment when data insight can totally change the perspective on a problem or solution. It’s the concept of seeing something familiar but in a completely new light.

Overlapping shapes emulate the process of bringing different data sets and perspectives together. Much like Count itself, it’s about bringing together information in a way that presents the whole picture and allows teams to make more empowered decisions.  

The new identity needed to work seamlessly across marketing communications, as well as the platform itself. Online, a set of styles and elements were developed to weave the brand into the product, creating a more seamless customer experience. 

The Fiasco team were fantastic to work with. We gave them a tough brief and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. They worked with us side-by-side through the brand process and then helped us deliver vision in digital form.” – Ollie Hughes, CEO, Count.  

You can view the full case study here.

Young creatives in Bristol have until 16 December to apply for one of the most unique and cutting-edge creative industry courses found anywhere in the country.

Earlier this year, Access Creative College joined forces with Condense and LocalGlobe to create a fully funded Metaverse Development Scholarship Programme, with the aim of bringing more diversity into the tech industry.

With the last few places now available on this course, young Bristol creatives have until the application deadline on 16 December to be a part of a technological and cultural revolution that is changing the landscape of live events.

Within this programme, scholars will be given the knowledge and skills to allow them to create truly live events in real time, as 3D video (also known as video 3.0). This means that, with the aid of either a VR headset, smartphone, laptop, desktop or even augmented reality glasses, people could enjoy a much more immersive experience of, for example a music concert, from the comfort of their own home.

With content itself streamed into gaming engines such as Unity and Unreal, the potential now exists to create entirely new and engaging live experiences within augmented and virtual reality setting and redefine the parameters of live events.

Jason Beaumont, Access Creative College chief executive, said:

“We’ve seen examples, in recent years, of performances taking place within virtual settings, but these have all been essentially pre-recorded and pre-programmed. What we’re talking about here is a revolution in the way we not only create live content within AR and VR, but the way that content is received by the public.”

Condense believe that the ceiling for this kind of technology is truly limitless and that while performing artists are including virtual performances within tours, there are no technological limits to scaling up this proposition into major events such as entire festivals and even major sporting events.

James Tong, Condense’s head of people, added:

“This kind of technology, and educational programmes like this, have the ability to open up the world of live events and culture to an even larger audience. Imagine the ability to attend something like Glastonbury or the World Cup without ever having to leave your home. Not to just watch a recording, but to be able to witness spectacular events and performances in real time, as if you were there.

“This really is a game-changing concept, its not about replacing live events with a virtual counterpart, far from it. In fact this is a means of making live events way more accessible and immersive and it gives event organisers and performers something new and different to think about when their planning tours and events.”

The programme is open to anyone, regardless of their academic background, existing qualifications or experience in the tech industry. By attending this 12 week, intensive, and fully funded course, students will have the opportunity to harness this potential and be part of the bleeding edge of AR and VR technology.

Scholars will learn Digital Graphics; 3D modelling, photogrammetry and textures; Realtime VFX; Plugin integration, in game/ venue scaling and enhancing virtual worlds; Enriching virtual worlds; Interactions, spatial sound, player movement and networking basics.

Successful applicants will also receive a college accreditation and certificate, hands-on experience with the latest technologies and techniques, real world industry skills to support the next step in your career, high level of exposure to local employers, a potential career with Condense and £1500 bursary, dependent on learner performance.

Applications for the course are now open here.

UWE Bristol has unveiled its new immersive Sound Shower experience at Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway and Cabot Circus. Showing a mesmeric snapshot of campus life, the film was created by Skylark Media.

Filming took place at the university’s Frenchay campus and city with the support of student contributors. Multiple locations include the Atrium cafe, Centre for Sport, student union, library, as well as at the Arnolfini in the city centre.

The UWE Bristol sound shower experience at the Mall at Cribbs.

Stephanie Lee, Marketing Communications Manager at UWE Bristol says, ‘This is a really exciting film project with Skylark Media where we’re creating a film for a specific sound shower unit which will sit in Cabot Circus and Cribbs Causeway shopping centres to promote the university and bring campus life to the people of Bristol, so they can get a real immersive experience and sense of what it’s like to study here on our campuses.’

Skylark Media MD Jo Haywood adds, ‘For a unique out of home experience, we came up with a fully immersive concept using an Insta 360 camera on an extendable pole. It sits within the stitch line which then becomes invisible in post-production. The result is a fully immersive film that mimics a FPV drone – flying around from location to location or locking into subjects for detail. Diegetic sound is added in so that the viewer can eavesdrop into those private moments.’

You can experience UWE Bristol’s immersive Sound Shower at Cribbs Causeway or Cabot Circus this month.

The tech industry is fascinating from a brand perspective. Its growth has been so fast, disruptive and organic, with so many quickly expanding start-ups, that it has barely had time to pause and draw breath, let alone ponder what role brand might have to play in its future. When your numbers are good, something like brand scarcely seems to matter. Most companies have thrived despite, rather than because of theirs. But the hour of reckoning may be near.

In all industries there comes a point when it isn’t enough to have a great product or service to build a successful business. Knowledge spreads and grows. What once was groundbreaking rapidly becomes standard, imitable, improvable… the marketplace crowds and alternatives proliferate. Your ability to communicate your difference and your real value becomes ever more important as competition intensifies. Which is what makes the current situation in tech, digital and data analytics so interesting. With a plethora of similar-looking brands that use familiar language, the sector has evolved into a homogeneous playing field. The overwhelming sense is that everyone looks and sounds extraordinarily similar. That, for the wise, presents a far bigger opportunity than a few more lines of groundbreaking code.

It’s easy to see how things have come to be the way they are. All that mattered at the outset was the innovation. Companies started small and agile. Many really struggled to keep pace with their own success. Brand was often lumped in with digital marketing, handed to less senior people to take care of, and frequently seen as superficial – “just a logo” – and therefore low priority. The great thing about digital marketing from a digital company’s point of view? It’s easy to measure. Brand, which is bigger in every way, less so. All this is understandable: companies had people to hire, products to develop and customers to deal with. Even many who understand the importance of brand have simply put it off.

But now the situation has evolved. Many of those companies that started with two or three people now number twenty or thirty or substantially more. Now internal purpose, morale, discipline, decision-making and behaviour weighs heavier: bigger overheads, bigger clients, bigger responsibilities… each new step carries greater implications. How do you keep this ever-growing number of people together as a meaningful entity? Who exactly are you, as an organisation? What do you actually stand for?

The questions keep coming. How will you thrive consistently in the tech big battleground that is the fight for talent, when demand outstrips supply? What’s going to make high quality people choose you, instead of a close rival, for their next job, so you can maintain the high standards of the work you do as it scales up? Your good name and future business rests on it. And how, when you know that your product is better than your lookalike rivals out there, are you going to convince potential customers of that? How will they know who to believe? What’s going to get you the market share your innovation undoubtedly deserves?

Decisions going your way is the answer to these questions – and all of the great myriad of micro-influences that lead to that. But it’s easier said than done. The science of decision-making is fairly well documented. We’re not such rational beings as we’d like to believe, with up to 90 percent of the choices we make based on emotion… and later post-rationalised. This is just as applicable to tech as it is to buying chocolate in the supermarket or choosing a house. Instinctive decisions are made before we even know it ourselves. And this is where a brand – when it’s done well – comes into its own.

A brand isn’t simply a logo, a strapline, colours, imagery, fonts – it’s the sum of how all these are orchestrated, plus the behaviours and feelings that this leads to. It’s the whole experience of your organisation at every moment it has contact with someone. It’s the sum of every gesture and action by every employee as well as every facet of every piece of communication. A smart brand is alive to possibilities not just online or through marketing but anywhere there is engagement or the opportunity to bring its big core idea to life. Why can’t you make someone smile when they least expect it, in – say – the company car park for example? A brand is how you make your customers (and your own people) feel, which influences their behaviour towards you. And that’s why it’s a key strategic tool. The right thinking now can shape big, big decisions later. This is not a slap of paint.

To return to the tech sector in particular. It tends to be the case that tech companies focus intensely on what they have developed. It’s what they know, it’s where they feel comfortable. But what do they – or you – really know of the person who says yes or no to you, the key decision-maker with the final word? Or of what goes into that decision? Are you sure the technology itself is even within the grasp of this individual? Does it even need to be? Perhaps what matters for them is simplicity, ease of use, an instant sense of reliability and effectiveness: impact. Often, it’s not until much further down the line that verification of the tech offer is sought – usually by someone else, long after the important decision has been made. It’s no coincidence that so many tech businesses only thrive when they become human, literally, in the form of a meeting or presentation. If that’s the only time your “brand” is alive – then you don’t have a brand at all.

The fact is that many businesses in the tech sector focus their communications around dry, technical language set against a visual backdrop of technology cliches or familiar-looking process diagrams. Whilst it might be a necessity to articulate the nitty gritty of a technology, platform or service somewhere, this is often given priority at the expense of the wider, more human and beneficial story. Complexity stymies simplicity. Many businesses are missing the opportunity to connect their brand with customers in a much more powerful way.

So what can (great) branding do for you:

— Revolutionise credibility
— Influence the big decisions people are making about your company
— Improve your talent acquisition
— Support your business strategy
— Radically alter morale and engagement internally
— Increase business leads and new business / revenue
— Inform strategic decisions
— Bring stability and reassurance through demanding times
— Drive IPO or sales valuations higher
— Change the future.

 

saintnicks’ Copywriter Caroline takes a deep dive into the world of AI to find out whether it’s really coming for her job.

Lately, it seems that creatives everywhere have been doing double takes as AI-powered tools start to seep into mainstream media. With DALL-E creations hot on the heels of graphic designers and free copywriting sites like Jasper looming over busy marketing teams, now’s not the time to stick our heads in the sand. Instead, we want to find out whether this new wave of computer-controlled craft is really a cause for concern – or if we can make it work in our favour.

What does creativity really mean?

First things first: When talking about AI potentially replacing us creatives, it’s worth examining what creativity really means. Albert Einstein defined it as “seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.” Many, including a lot of us here at saintnicks, are in agreement, viewing creativity as inventiveness, as our inherent ability to use imagination to originate something new. In fact, the Cambridge English Dictionary’s definition of creativity is “the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas.” This human ingenuity is difficult to replicate – and the reason why icons like Beethoven, Maya Angelou, Matisse, the Wright brothers, or Wes Anderson are so revered.

On the contrary, others (like Steve Jobs, for example) view creativity from a more practical point of view. Jobs said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” That implies creativity is just a skill that can be learned and developed over time using reference points as inspiration. If humans, therefore, only build on what they have learned and what others have done in order to be creative, then it’s easy to argue that AI, too, can be creative. Because that’s essentially what AI does – it takes existing information (data) and, using clever algorithms, generates fresh, new content. But we’ll get to that a bit later.

In the defence of creatives, I believe there’s more to it. Sure, creativity is original, inventive, ingenious – maybe even learned. But it’s also intentional. It’s emotional. It’s contextual. As a copywriter, for example, I’m able to write with foresight and intuition. I know that an audience is likely to prefer one tagline over another, or laugh at a certain word, or be touched by a speech, simply because I share the same human experience as the people I’m talking to. I’m sentient. I consciously want my readers to feel something, I can intend for my words to elicit a response.

As humans, our thoughts, our memories, our physical sensations and the environments that surround us play huge, important parts in our lives. It’s our creativity that enables us to make connections between these things. When we create art – and I mean art in its loosest sense here, i.e. anything that’s an expression of creativity – we are either trying to discover something about ourselves, make sense of the world, affect our audience or express our thoughts and feelings. We have an innate human desire, an urge to create something meaningful.

A machine can’t do that. It doesn’t have the capacity for free thinking, nor does it have emotional intention. It can’t look at its audience and think, “I want my art to make you laugh or cry, I want to start a discussion around this topic, I want to comment on the state of the world.” Even the smartest AI can’t independently create art with meaning.

Where art and technology intersect

So, how can AI still be a threat to creatives if it can’t have an intention? Well, let’s look at the world of visual art for a moment.

Those who recently attended Glastonbury Festival may have crossed paths with Ai-Da, an artist who created portraits of the four headlining acts during a live painting demonstration. Although ‘live’ may not be the right word for it. You see, Ai-Da is a robot. The world’s first ultra-realistic artist robot, in fact. She uses cameras in her eyes, AI algorithms and a robotic arm to draw, paint, sculpt and perform poems. For years, she’s travelled the world, displaying her artwork in galleries, talking about her experience as a humanoid artist. You can even follow her on Instagram.

While, at first glance, Ai-Da could be mistaken for something from the year 3000, the AI she uses to create her art is quite simple. Allow me to get a bit technical here. You see, there are two different types of algorithms that can be used to create images through AI. The first one is Neural Style Transfer – where AI applies the style of one image to another. The Mona Lisa recreated in the style of Kandinsky. A photograph of an avocado re-styled as Warhol’s pop art. A pencil sketch turned into a Picasso. In order to function, the Neural Style Transfer needs both images as reference points to create its final product. This is what Ai-Da does, too. Using her ‘eyes’, she receives a reference image which she then replicates in her own, pre-programmed style. To really wrap your head around it, you can think of Neural Style Transfer as a fancy Instagram filter. Still with me?

Then there’s Generative Adversarial Networks – or GAN, for short. Unlike Neural Style Transfer, GANs can create original images from scratch. Well, sort of. GANs work by predicting an outcome based on a certain prompt. Using a set of data, they generate new examples that could plausibly fit in with the original data. So if the dataset is Van Gogh’s 900 paintings, the GAN would generate a new original image that looks like it could fit into a Van Gogh collection.

The results of GAN are pretty successful. So successful in fact, that, in 2018, Christie’s became the first auction house to offer a work of art created by an algorithm – which sold for a whopping $432,500. The artists behind Edmond de Belamy, as the artwork is called, are French collective Obvious. Using a dataset of 15,000 portraits from WikiArt, painted (by humans) between the 14th and 20th century, Obvious’ GAN created a new piece of art depicting a somewhat-blurry gentleman.

DALL-E is currently not available to the public – but the concept quickly took on a viral life of its own when Boris Dayma, a machine learning engineer, created the more accessible DALL-E mini (now called craiyon). Trained on much smaller amounts of data than DALL-E, craiyon’s machine learning improves day by day based on information inputted by its millions of users. For now, the resulting images are, at best, suited to meme culture – but as these technologies develop, it’s easy to see how they could become a part of everyday professional life. Print ads, book covers, blog headers, social posts, stock imagery, web content… the possibilities are endless. So where does that leave us?

The power of the prompt

I think the answer lies within the execution. All of these technologies, from DALL-E to Jasper, rely on prompts. They require us – the humans – to do the big thinking before they can switch on and start churning out their art. And it’s within the prompt that true creativity really lies. It’s not the machine that came up with the idea to have steampunk teddies go grocery shopping, it’s the person. The prompt satisfies both our aforementioned definitions of creativity – it requires imagination, and an ability to come up with something original, but it also requires a connection to be made, as Steve Jobs said. AI is the executioner, the maker, but we are the originators, looking at things differently, thinking up unimaginable things. To find the perfect image, you need to provide the perfect prompt. If AI can’t originate, then we creatives are still needed.

How can creatives put AI to work?

Now that we’re safe in the knowledge that AI, for the time being, isn’t going to come for our jobs entirely, we might even be able to look at how it can enhance our work and make us better. As OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman described it in an interview with the New Yorker, AI can – and should – ultimately just be treated as “an extension of your own creativity.”

Concepting

In agency life, a lot of time can be wasted during the original concepting phase when all you really want to do is spit-ball ideas and get your clients’ reaction. Tools like DALL-E can be a great help to you if you’re short on time but want to present a few visuals to illustrate an idea. Even if it’s just a word on a shop front or a puppy wearing a hat. It gives a lot more power to the “What if?” when suddenly that question can be answered in minutes, rather than having to mock it all out on photoshop for hours. Plus, you’ll never have to trudge through a stock image library ever again.

Editing

One of the most remarkable features of DALL-E is its ability to make edits to an image it has already created. Want to see what a flamingo would look like inside of the pool rather than next to it? Just tell DALL-E to move it around. Boom. Little tweaks that can take up annoying amounts of time can be executed with a few verbal prompts.

Drafting

Writer’s block can be one of the most debilitating experiences for someone whose livelihood depends on how many words they can get down in an hour. AI tools like Copy.ai can act not only as a timesaver when deadlines are looming but also serve up inspiration when you’ve been staring at a blank page for far too long. Using a link, a couple of words or a simple description, Copy.ai can generate headlines for Facebook, brand mottos, meta descriptions and more. It even lets you rewrite existing text in a different tone. The output is never final-product worthy and definitely needs a human eye – and hand – to finish it off for a client, but it’s a great tool for getting that pesky first draft out of the way. Full disclosure: I actually used Copy.ai myself recently to come up with some alternatives for a Call to Action button – and it worked a treat.

So, there you have it. Whilst AI might come off as a bit of a scary, magical beast at first, it can actually serve as a handy little tool to keep our creative juices flowing. And no, I don’t think it will be replacing our creative team anytime soon. We’re far too much fun in the office.

To chat with our team or learn more about saintnicks, head to www.saintnicks.uk.com.

The National Governance Association (NGA) has announced the appointment of Bristol based Mentor Digital as its digital agency partner for a series of upcoming high profile digital projects. Following a highly competitive and extensive procurement process, led by technical procurement experts Hart Square, Mentor Digital was chosen as the winning bidder to deliver a new website, CMS solution, and CRM integration for NGA. Alongside the UX and website build project, Mentor Digital has also been selected by NGA in a separate tender process to deliver a full rebrand of the organisation including a new logo, style guide, and branding guidelines document. These projects will help NGA to deliver their ambitious digital strategy and will develop a solid foundation both creatively and technically for NGA & Mentor Digital to build upon in partnership over the coming years.

The National Governance Association (NGA) is the membership organisation for governors, trustees and clerks of state schools in England. Mentor Digital will design and develop a new CMS and website to support NGA’s 75,000 members. The project will include brand new information architecture and website design, along with new UX and user journeys to provide an excellent experience for members as they are onboarded, renew their memberships, and take advantage of the many excellent services that NGA provides.

Mentor Digital’s MD Holland Risley said “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by NGA for this project. The whole team has been great to work with during the procurement process, and we are really excited to be adding such a prestigious membership organisation to our client portfolio!”

NGA provides members with CPD and training opportunities along with an extensive e-learning offering through their highly popular Learning Link subscriptions. During the tender process NGA was impressed by Mentor Digital’s award-winning e-learning work for the National Composite’s centre. Integrating e-learning platforms is a large and exciting part of this project, and Mentor Digital presented a strong ability to deliver solutions to NGA’s challenging requirements.

As with all major membership organisations NGA has a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that needs to be seamlessly integrated with the new website. Mentor Digital’s team is highly experienced at integrating 3rd party CRM systems with front end websites and have many high-profile case studies of doing very similar projects with major membership organisations, including Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), Equity (the artists union), and Research in Practice.

To develop a website of this scale requires an in-depth process of stakeholder engagement, user research, design, and prototyping. Mentor Digital will lead an extensive series of discovery workshops with NGA and their members before producing fully mobile responsive prototypes as part of the project process to allow for the new website to be fully user tested using mobile devices and desktops. Mentor’s UX testing team carries out mobile device guerrilla testing with specialist cameras for mobile devices and desktop UX testing, with their eye tracking suite, to ensure that all interfaces and journeys are intuitive and clear when used by real world users.

The websites will be developed using the excellent open-source Umbraco CMS platform, which provides highly secure, enterprise level, content management experiences with no ongoing licenses. Mentor Digital is an Umbraco Gold Partner and has implemented Umbraco CMS for many NHS Trusts and CCGs along with a wide range of B2B and B2C clients.

If your organisation is looking for a digital agency to work on a new or existing project, please get in touch with Mentor Digital, they would love to hear about your plans and how they can help you achieve them. You can fill out a contact form here or drop them an email to [email protected].

To see more examples of the work Mentor Digital produces you can visit the ‘work’ area of their website here.

Our creative and digital industries are facing a critical shortage of developer skills right now, particularly when it comes to Web3 developers, with Web3 developers only representing 1% of worldwide devs. Yet there’s so much potential for positive, disruptive change.  Collectively we need to up-skill our teams to realise that huge potential.

But WTF is Web3 and why should we care?

Simpleweb is hosting a month-long virtual festival throughout October to help to demystify Web3 and see past the nonsense.  The goal is to onboard the next generation of Web3 talent across the UK.  Similar to a hackathon format, they’ll be helping agencies, developers and UX teams learn the fundamentals and begin their Web3 journey, using a range of Web3 tools and best choice blockchains.

Participants will learn about Web3 and its benefits to help build expertise and extend product & service offerings, and agencies can enter individuals or teams who will be able to work together and bring their collective knowledge back to share with others. They’ll also receive an NFT certificate of completion, as well as get the chance to win a number of prizes across different categories.  It’s free to join, and could contribute to agencies’ CPD efforts as well as innovation endeavours.

Another opportunity for us to pull together to put Bristol on the map, supporting our creative and tech talent and building an even stronger community.  Why wouldn’t you?

https://www.meetup.com/simpleweb/events/287735158/

Access Creative College, Condense and LocalGlobe have teamed up to offer Bristol students a Metaverse Development Scholarship to bring more diversity to tech.

Access Creative College, the UK’s leading games, music and media college, metaverse specialists Condense and venture capital fund LocalGlobe are offering up to eight fully funded scholarships to start in September.

To coincide with the launch, leading Bristol artists Lebo, Dread MC and Badliana were invited into Condense’s cutting edge metaverse environment on 26 July to perform.

Using a state-of-the-art 360-degree camera rig constructed by Condense, the three artists each stepped into a virtual landscape to record their own performance. It is the creation of these virtual landscapes and their live-streaming capabilities which Access Creative College are now offering the chance for students to study.

Jackson Armstrong, executive head of marketing at Access Creative College, commented: “What better way to celebrate the launch of this new scholarship programme than by having some of Bristol’s brightest upcoming artists perform in the metaverse, which our scholars will be working to produce.”

Kicking off in September, successful scholars will learn how to stream live events into one of the world’s most exciting new technologies, the metaverse. The successful applicants will take part in a 12-week programme, full of rich and intensive study, completely funded through the scholarship.

Jackson Armstrong continued: “When it comes to board positions within leading tech companies in the UK, the statistics are deeply concerning with the lack of gender split and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

“We’re excited at the prospect of helping to change that through this new scholarship programme and we’re currently on the lookout for applicants to apply online.”

Fully-funded intensive metaverse course

Scholars will learn digital graphics, 3D modelling, photogrammetry and textures, realtime VFX, plugin integration, in game/venue scaling and enhancing virtual worlds, enriching virtual worlds, interactions, spatial sound, player movement and networking basics.

James Tong, head of people at Condense, added: “You should apply for this scholarship because while everyone has a story to tell, not everyone has the same opportunities in life.

“This is an incredible opportunity to carve out a career in engineering and metaverse content creation. It’s a 12 week fully-funded intensive course, so you will meet other people with similar interests and ambitions, and it could even lead to a permanent job with Condense.”

Applications for the course are now open, and can be made through Access Creative College here.

Successful applicants will receive: