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Meet Creative England's Future Leaders

Creative England's Future Leaders were chosen by a panel of creative industry judges for their services to creativity and innovation. 

Last night, all ten of our Future Leaders gathered at our Creative England Live event. Below, you'll find some additional information about each Future Leader, the exciting products they're developing and how Creative England have assisted their journey...

Carbon Digital

Based in MediaCityUK in Salford, Carbon Digital is an award-winning visual effects agency that delivers content for computer games trailers, TV commercials and broadcast, through animation, visual effects and visual imagery.

Their clients range from global advertising agencies BBH and Rainey Kelley, to the BBC, ITV, Unilever, Mind Candy, Barclays and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

At the start of 2014, through its Business Loan Fund, Creative England helped Carbon Digital to launch a dedicated game trailer division, which launched at the Games Development Conference in San Francisco.

It’s Carbon Digital’s vision that impressed our panel of judges; their ambition to maximise the potential of the gaming industry, and its ever-evolving technology.

The new division’s aim, led by co-founders Sue and Paul McHugh, is to focus on bringing the company’s high-end visual effects, CGI, production and post-production capabilities to the thriving games industry.

The company was recently announced as a winner of the coveted MPA (Master Photographers Association) award for “TV, Film, Video, Animation Production of the Year” for a three-part CGI film commission that they produced for BBC Sport and BBC Learning, which attracted in excess of 100,000 hits over the course of one weekend.

Citrus Suite

Citrus Suite is a creative design studio based in Liverpool. Founded in 2008, the company works in two areas: designing creative book apps for publishers and mobile health apps for the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.

Chosen by our judges for their cross-sector work with the healthcare industry, Citrus has developed a range of mobile health products over the past two years, giving people simple digital tools to maximise the benefit of medical advice, and to assist in the management of health conditions. These include apps for young people living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and for carers of people with the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Citrus Suite’s roster of clients is also impressive: Penguin, Sony, HarperCollins and the BBC for its book apps. On the mobile health side, Citrus Suite works with a range of organisations including the NHS and leading charities.

Last year Creative England joined forces with a series of healthcare partners, including NHS England, to invest a total of £400,000 in product and prototype development that support a range of health issues. Citrus Suite was one of the recipients of this funding, and is currently developing an app for mobile and tablet devices which can track and monitor a patient’s condition. Using gamification techniques the patient can record symptoms, functions, exercise and medications, view up-to-date data showing trends and dips in their progress and share information with their doctor.

Working with Innovate Dementia, one of Citrus Suite’s newest flagship projects is ReMind Me: Memory Enabling Technology for iOS / Android, a series of apps designed to help people to live well with dementia and support carers.

In 2011 and 2012, the company saw three of its apps reach number one in app stores across the UK and the US. In total, the company has seen users download more than half a million games and apps, which have received more than 4,000 five-star reviews. Citrus Suite has also won many awards, including App of the Year from Apps Magazine, Best Digital Product from Penguin Group and several Drum Marketing awards.

The company also has its own innovative in-house development tool, Citrus Engine, which allows developers to build high-quality apps for both iOS and Android platforms.

The Floow

The Floow uses insights from telematics technology to help insurers better understand how drivers drive, which in turn helps to price fairer premiums for responsible drivers.

Specialising in telematics data collection, storage and management, the Sheffield-based company has developed algorithms and research specialisms in road safety and driving behaviour. As a result, they have developed a smartphone app that captures driver performance data through a low-cost telematic system.

This technology has been embraced by Direct Line, Greenflag and AIG who offer the technology to their customers, providing drivers with a discount on their insurance premium based on their individual driving behaviour.

The technology is available either as a black box that fits in the car or as a telematics App accessible for both Android and iPhone. After each journey, the driver receives a score telling them how well they may or may not have done. Direct Line has recently taken a 15 per cent equity stake in the business.

The Floow received an injection of capital through Creative England’s Business Loan Fund which helped the company maintain early-stage growth.

“The capital provided was very useful,” says Aldo Monteforte, CEO and co-founder of The Floow. “We used that money to accelerate the hiring of some early resources which helped us to solidify and strengthen the product and eventually get more revenue from clients.”

The Floow has its own proprietary devices and software, and the company is centred around employing data and computer scientists, mathematicians physicists, actuaries and psychologists.

As well as being recognised by our judges for its innovative work, The Floow recently won “Best Telematics-Based Project” at the Post Digital Insurance and Technology Awards.

“We are delighted that Creative England has recognised our work and our commitment to sustained growth by voting us as a Future Leader. The Floow has developed significantly since its inception in 2012, which is in part thanks to the financial support we received from Creative England when we first began.

As well as continuing our work in the motor insurance industry we are now also looking to provide our services and develop the use of telematics in other sectors including healthcare, environment and for a range of businesses.”

HMA Digital Marketing

HMA Digital Marketing has collaborated with the University of Sheffield and Tunstall Healthcare, to develop mHealth Assist, a mobile platform for supported living. The concept is to help people with long-term conditions live more independently and is specifically focused on supporting vulnerable people living with dementia, visual impairment or needing solutions to resolve communication difficulties.

The Barnsley-based project was also a recipient of funding from Creative England’s Digital Healthcare NHS Fund, with the goal of taking this new approach to improving quality of care into the NHS marketplace.

The judges were impressed with the idea behind the mobile app, mHealth Assist, which is designed to be customised to meet individual needs, and bring improvements to care. The prototype app is a user-friendly four-button interface for people with visual impairment - the group with the most clearly-identified needs. Each button’s subject can be chosen by the user or their carer.

“We introduced the NHS Digital Fund in partnership with NHS England to help improve the health and wellbeing of patients using the very technology we have at our fingertips – mobile technology and app

development,” explains Jim Farmery, Director of Business Investment at Creative England. “mHealth Assist is the perfect example of the creative and innovative technology that can be developed, with the right support.”

HMA itself has been in business for nearly 20 years, making it one of the longest-established full-service digital marketing agencies in the UK. The company employs 21 staff and this year was listed as a top digital agency in the North of England by Prolific North.

Clients of the company include Network Rail, technology giant 3M, property management firm MEPC and the University of Sheffield.

Nomad Games

Warrington-based Nomad Games is one of the most successful games developers for mobile, tablets and PCs in the North West. The team behind the company has a record of success, with games such as Warhammer, Eurofighter Typhoon, War of the Worlds, Robocop 3D and Red Faction Battlegrounds, among others.

Recognised by the judges for their recent collaboration with table-top gaming giant Games Workshop, Nomad Games developed the digital edition of the board game Talisman (a magical quest game) after being approached directly by the company. The game, Talisman Prologue, has been a huge success, becoming the number one mobile download in its category in 27 countries for its iOS and Android versions. Creative England’s investment in Nomad Games is through its North West Fund 4 Digital & Creative, which is a partnership with venture capital firm AXM, to help the company secure private sector investment and boost its growth potential.

Nomad Games was founded in 2011 by Chief Executive Don Whiteford, who says the company is on a fastgrowth track: “With our first title already topping the charts, the support of franchise owners such as Games Workshop and the financial backing of the Fund, we’re very excited by the prospects of growing another successful studio.

“Support from Creative England enabled us to get two extra developers on board at a significant point in our plan. We are now starting to reap the rewards, both financially and in terms of recognition by other board and card game developers. 2015 promises to be an exciting year as we add new titles to our portfolio.”

The Imaginarium

Chosen for its ability to carve out a hugely successful niche in the world of performance capture, digital studio The Imaginarium was applauded by our judges for its true mastery in an evolving new discipline.

The Imaginarium is Europe’s leading Performance Capture studio and production company, combining the latest technology with the highest standards to create the ultimate in next-generation storytelling for film, television, video games and digital applications.

Founded in 2011 by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish and based in London, The Imaginarium has brought together some of the world’s leading Performance Capture and Visual Effects technicians to provide the highest level of character creation and storytelling.

Performance Capture is the technical process used to translate an actor’s performance into a digital character, seen in films such as The Lord of The Rings, King Kong, Avatar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Adventures of TinTin and many more. Each subtle facial expression, body movement and vocalisation is recorded via

a synchronized array of specialised cameras and used to deliver a computer generated or ‘digital’ character.

Performance is at the centre of the process, giving the digital character life and soul. Together with teams of highly skilled visual effects artists, the Imaginarium creates digital characters with whom an audience can fully and emotionally engage.

The Imaginarium is also developing and producing its own films, television projects and interactive material using its unique Performance Capture expertise and, as the technology gets more popular, its areas of use get more diverse. The team has also been involved in high end TV commercials, music videos and computer games.

With help from Creative England, the company is establishing The Imaginarium West, a cutting edge film and TV Computer Generated (CG) animation division based in Bath. As well as producing CG animation, The Imaginarium West will develop proprietary computer-generated tools to license out to other visual effects companies and studios.


Shrewsbury-headquartered Shoothill is an award-winning big data specialist software provider. The company creates online mapping and data visualisation solutions, turning complex statistical and geographic data into more accessible products.

The judges were particularly impressed by the way that Shoothill is using its expertise to support communities. A key project – part-funded by Creative England – is its library search system at the Library of Birmingham. The solution developed by the company, called FLiC, showcases Shoothill’s technology and expertise in high-end data visualisation solutions.

The software is currently being used to create an interactive visual search method for the Library of Birmingham’s Warwickshire Photographic Survey. The Survey was founded in 1890 to create a photographic record of the urban and rural landscape of Warwickshire. Shoothill’s digitisation project is cataloguing the 20,000+ photographs to form a searchable online image database to preserve a record of the area’s history for future generations.

Another successful project is Shoothill’s award-winning FloodAlerts app, which tracks live flood and river-level data from the Environment Agency in real time. The system allows anyone to zoom in on any point of the UK map, or to search by postcode, to see flood alert and flood warning statuses issued by the Environmental Agency within the previous 15 minutes. Shoothill has won numerous awards for its software and apps, and is a shining example of how creative technology can provide solutions across multiple sectors.

Sun & Moon Studios

Sun & Moon Studios is a full-service animation, design and software production house. The company creates bespoke content for all media and digital platforms, ranging from TV animation and corporate films to smartphone games and educational apps.

Founded in 2008, many of the games produced by Sun & Moon Studios are aimed at children with special needs. It was the eye-gaze technology – a device that allows users to control a PC with their eyesight – that impressed the judges, enabling children who would otherwise have difficulties playing games, to use the company’s software with ease.

Their inclusive Eye Gaze Foundation (in partnership with Inclusive Technology) has been specially designed to meet the needs of teachers, therapists and carers working with students with physical and intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, autistic spectrum disorder and communication difficulties. A unique package of 18 carefully graded, fun and

meaningful activities is designed to assess and teach attention and looking skills, and can be used by anyone trying eye gaze for the first time.

Sun & Moon Studios animation work includes the BBC’s Change4Life campaign, TV adverts for Clarks, and a motion tracking game and animation for the Sea Life Centre Manchester, played by up to 1,000 children every day.

Creative England is one of Sun & Moon’s backers through its GamesLab South West funding programme, which awarded grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to SMEs based in the South West of England that wanted to develop their own intellectual property. The programme’s aim is to support economic growth, facilitate job creation and improve skills development in the games sector.


Skylab specialises in digital strategy, websites, apps, social media and video platforms for clients including the Home Office, William Hill, British Swimming, the BBC and Manchester United. The company works with multiple global brands, government bodies and has a specific focus on sport, working with teams, clubs, NGBs and world federations. Led by BAFTA Award winning MD Nigel Collier, Skylab has created the innovative MediaTank video platform.

It was MediaTank that particularly impressed the Future Leader judges. This commercially successful and innovative online broadcasting platform helps companies to better communicate with the public.

MediaTank allows any brand, business or content owner to become a broadcaster and deliver high definition video to an online audience from their own website. MediaTank allows anyone to broadcast anything to everyone on any device and has been called, ‘a white label version of the BBC iPlayer’.

Skylab hopes that could create new TV platforms for consumer brands, businesses, or for public sector organisations in the future.

The company has also created a developer friendly version of MediaTank that handles the CMS management, storage, encoding and delivery of video. Developers can query data, and use open source libraries to achieve rapid integration into projects.

Skylab received funding from Creative England through the Business Innovation Fund to further develop MediaTank, now used by British Swimming to broadcast national championships, global camera brand Hasselblad who showcase 1,000 films worldwide, and the National Film and Television School who train the best UK filmmakers.

The Bureau

Established BAFTA-winning production company The Bureau is a group of talented producers who work hard to find and stimulate new talent. The team prides itself on taking a gamble on groundbreaking and unique filmmakers, and leading them to success in world markets – through links with major UK and French players, as well as European international sales companies.

Some of the award-winning films produced by The Bureau include multi-award winning romantic drama Weekend, BAFTA-winning feature Ratcatcher, WW1 drama Joyeux Noël, and many more. The team is currently looking to expand its international presence, developing a large catalogue of films for international sales.

“We gamble on ground breaking and unique filmmakers and lead them to success in world markets through links with major UK and French players as well as European international sales companies,” says the company.

Co-founder Bertrand Faivre’s pedigree is impeccable: he was previously head of acquisitions at UGC France, before joining Les Productions Lazennec (known for La Haine, Scent of Green Papaya and Cyclo). He set up The Bureau in 2000 followed by Paris’s Le Petit Bureau, which handles a catalogue of French TV rights for 200 films.

Creative England has supported The Bureau through its Production Funding scheme, part-funding the film 45 Years, directed by Andrew Haigh. The Production Funding scheme is designed to help non-London based filmmakers tell stories set in or around the English regions.

45 Years, executive produced by The Bureau’s Tristan Goligher has just been selected for competition at the Berlin Film Festival. “The precious ability to tell stories that connect with both UK and International audiences is what distinguishes our nominated film talent and businesses. Be it fiction or documentary, short form or long form, all are able to harness the power of the cinematic canvas to entertain, move and challenge, often to devastating effect.

As a group, they demonstrate the diversity – of voices, gender, ethnicity and geography – that will underpin the future growth of the UK film industry. They also embody the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in how they tell their tales and bring them to market through the use of new technologies and cross-sector partnerships.” Chris Moll, Head of Film, Creative England

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