This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.
Based in the heart of the city centre, Campus North set the stage for another packed out Northern Stars competition celebrating digital businesses from the northern powerhouse of Newcastle.
Ambitious digital entrepreneurs from 10 inspiring startups all with fantastic stories to tell pitched to the audience in the hope to win a place at the Tech North pavilion at the high profile TechCrunch event in December.
Rising stars included co-founder Gilbert Corrales who pitched his music startup Leaf.fm to a crowd of around 100 and was eventually crowned the overall winner. With one of the busiest weeks ahead of him Gilbert was kind enough to go on record with insights into the creation of Leaf.fm and where they hope to be in the future.
Can you give me some background on you and your company?
Leaf.fm is a music discovery and promotions platform built around the best visual music experience available on the market today. We were invited over to the UK (from Costa Rica) as part of UKTI’s Sirius programme last year. Once here, we were invited to participate of the Ignite 100’s 2014 autumn cohort and since the launch of our iOS’ MVP we have seen over 250,000 users across 187 countries.
What are you working on right now?
We are constantly iterating based on daily learnings. Everything we do we measure, and everything we measure we tune and improve. Right now our days go between running and tuning the platform and working hard on the next big iteration of our mobile apps, including the first version of our Android app, which has become the number 1 feature request.
Where did your idea come from?
It came from looking at how utilitarian music services have become. We come from a tradition of loving music, going to concerts, playing music. For us artists and fans are at the core of the music experience and of it as a business, but with the advent of many of today’s services, fans and artists were relegated to utilitarian roles and we thought: we need to do something about it. We need to bring back the love for the craft of music, making it social again and making it visually rich. We thought that in today’s reality, where content is free and expected to be free, someone has to come with a viable model for the future of music and we want to make it.
What’s been the single biggest highlight for your business?
Been able to touch thousands of people through our products every day, and helping them put a soundtrack to their life through good music 🙂
What was it that about Northern Stars that encouraged you to engage with them?
We believe there is a lot of untapped potential in the northern region, especially in the North East, for startups and digital companies to grow and develop from. This was the reason why we chose to stay here after our participation on the Ignite program, and now after closing our seed round; and participating in the Northern Stars awards was part of us celebrating this new effort to shine some light on the stuff happening here and of the companies that are working hard from within the region.
Has there been any businesses or entrepreneurs that have inspired you?
We all have our different heroes, we look to companies like Twitter and Reddit, that have been able to mobilize hundreds of millions of users around common interests, connecting people outside and within their communities for a greater good of the collective. We look to Apple and their constant redefinition of quality through design and craftsmanship. We look to Google and their simple and iterative approach to solving problems through technology… and on the other end we look at the myriad of musicians that for the love of the craft wake up every day and give everything they have on the stage, regardless of it been a big stadium arena, or just a simple empty space on the street or the Metro, looking to entertain and touch people at a given moment through their sounds and words.
Why should investors be excited about Newcastle tech industry?
Because the party has already started 🙂
What does success look like for your company?
Making a positive impact to the future of music as an industry.
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