A TEES Valley animation and visual effects company is expanding thanks to new contract wins and a start-up loan backed by Sir Richard Branson.

Bloom Studio, which has been based at Teesside University’s Victoria Building business hub since launching in 2010, is the North East’s fastest-growing visual effects company and has moved to new premises, doubling its office space.

The new 1000 square feet offices, based on Teesside University’s campus, provide Bloom with the necessary space to grow and, in addition, are home to essential, state-of-the-art technology including a green screen which is used for filming visual effects for film and TV.

Bloom Studio was founded by animator, Albin Nilsen, and VFX programmer, Martin Davies, and specialises in animations for web, TV and film and specialises in visual effects for film and TV.

Since setting up the business in 2010, the pair have created a number of opportunities for people in the region and several high profile contracts.

The business now employs a team of six with plans to grow this number thanks to the new office space.

Bloom Studio has recently produced a music video for Norwegian pop star, Kid Exodus, who is signed to Sony, and online 3D effects for beer company, Tuborg.

In addition, the company has been commissioned for a range of projects for local authorities, manufacturing businesses, engineering companies and large corporations around the UK.

Thanks to its success to date and plans for development, Bloom Studio has also secured a Project North East start-up loan, backed by Virgin Money, Virgin Unite and the Northern Rock Foundation.

Bloom Studio established thanks to Teesside University’s award-winning DigitalCity Fellowship programme which offers entrepreneurs in the digital sectors the chance to develop their business ideas.

Bloom Studio’s work has been showcased at a number of international film festivals and the company has developed industry specific software tools to help with various aspects of animation design.

Mr Nilsen, who hails from Norway, said: “We believe that the North-East is the best possible location for our business thank to the facilities available for this constantly growing sector and the skilled workforce on our doorstep. The time is now right for us to put our growth plans into place so we’ve moved to bigger premises to allow us to take on more staff to cope with new contracts.”

Mr Davies said: “We’re very fortunate in the North-East to have an incredible mix of experienced producers and animators as well as emerging graduates with new skills. Being in the region is allowing us to grow more quickly than we anticipated and we’re now in the running for some exciting projects both in the UK and Europe.”