What can Newcastle offer an international start-up looking to set up in Europe?
That was the question Costa Rican Gilbert Corrales asked himself before he entered the Northern Stars competition at shared digital workspace Campus North.
He won the competition with his hugely promising music start-up Leaf.fm – and has never looked back.
“People keep pushing us to move to London or Manchester – Manchester has been offering us free office space for a year there,” he told BusinessCloud at the International Festival for Business.
“We’re a global business – we’re setting up in the US too soon – but Newcastle will continue to be our headquarters.
“The lifestyle and quality of life we can get there compared to other places in the country are much better.
“We have a proper house and pay just £700 [per month], which wouldn’t even get us a shared flat in London.
“I can jump on the train and be in London for a meeting if I need to.”
Leaf.fm is a music discovery and promotions platform which generates bespoke playlists for listeners based on their data and seeks to connect users socially.
It is the number one music app in more than 15 countries in Latin America and Corrales aims to turn it into the ‘Amazon of the music industry’.
Corrales and his team were invited to the UK as part of UK Trade & Investment’s Sirius programme, which helps international graduates with high growth business ideas to set up here.
“I don’t think Newcastle will give us everything – we already have an office in Costa Rica because we can tap into talent there,” he says.
“But it gives us a great launch pad which we will continue using here in the UK.”