Posted on June 23, 2016 by staff

Technology takes centre stage at IFB


BusinessCloud and 13 of the UK’s leading tech entrepreneurs shared centre stage at the prestigious International Festival for Business in Liverpool.

IFB2016 is the UK’s biggest business event of the year and BusinessCloud was invited to stage a half-day conference on the main Blue Skies stage.

Richard Law, CEO of GB Group; Paul Kenyon, joint chief executive of Avecto; Steve Oliver, founder/ CEO of Music Magpie; Simon Wilkinson, chairman of RealityMine; and UKFast’s co-founder and CEO Lawrence Jones were among 13 experts to share their stories at the event entitled ‘Tech entrepreneurs who want to change the world’.

They also included Cathal Berragan, head of campaigns of Manchester-based The Social Chain, which is now the UK’s largest influencer marketing agency. Through clever use of social media accounts The Social Chain can get hashtags trending within minutes – and claim to be able to get a message in front of up to 66 million people at once.

“We’ll pick a trend that we know our audience will engage with and contribute to and we’ll use all our pages to push it out at a particular time,” says Berragan. “Each piece of content will be tailored to that particular page. For a trend to start you need tens of thousands of tweets.”

Gilbert Corrales is the co-founder and CEO of Newcastle-based Leaf FM, which 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.

Corrales relocated his business to the UK from Costa Rica and has no regrets. “People keep pushing us to move to London or Manchester – Manchester has been offering us free office space for a year there,” he says. “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.”

Steve Oliver is the founder and CEO of Music Magpie and told the audience that changing the method of payment had given the business a massive boost. “We changed the payment offer last October to an instant transaction,” he says.

“When we buy phones, laptops, consoles, tablets now, when they arrive in the warehouse, we pay customers immediately. That has been transformational.”

The other panellists were: Jamil Khalil, founder/ CEO, Wakelet; Luke Massie, owner/ founder, Vibe Ticket; Amman Ahmed, founder, Roundwave; Joshua Bolland, CEO and creative director, JB Cole; Ian Jackson, co-founder, Imerja; and David Grimes, CEO, MPD.