Newcastle-based music sharing start-up Leaf.FM is the first North East company to take home the Grand Prix at the Big Chip Awards.
The annual awards ceremony celebrated its 16th edition in Manchester this year. Hosted by Manchester Digital, the awards recognised digital entrepreneurship in the North of England. Leaf.FM was the only company to take home two awards, being named Best Start-up in addition to picking up the Grand Prix.
Winners were chosen by a judging panel consisting of 12 high-profile entrepreneurs including Herb Kim, founder of Thinking Digital, and Bill Thompson, technology journalist at the BBC. Judges at the event called Leaf.FM ‘numinous’ due to its unique approach to engaging with video content.
Gilbert Corrales, Chief Executive at Leaf.FM, said: “We are proud to have been awarded two Big Chip Awards and excited about the fast growth we are seeing in the business. Over the past couple of years we have been on an amazing but challenging journey to develop our app and expand our user base. Following investment by Northstar Ventures from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund, we have successfully accelerated our marketing strategy and now have over 300,000 monthly active users across 195 countries.”
Leaf.FM is one of the fastest growing music streaming apps, with a strong user-base in the Caribbean and Latin America. The application was founded by Daniel and Melvin Salas along with Gilbert Corrales and Helga Alvarez in Costa Rica in 2014. The team moved to the North East following an invitation from UKTI’s Sirius Programme.
The app offers customised playlists and provides a portal for artists to sell merchandise and concert tickets within the context of the music their fans play.
Alex Buchan, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures said: “Music is a highly competitive industry, but the team at Leaf.FM have demonstrated a clear understanding of fan engagement and the capability to take the business forward. The app provides a unique opportunity for musicians and artists to engage with their fans as they stream music. Leaf.FM is a great example of the growing digital sector in the North East and we’re proud this has been recognised by the Big Chip Awards.”