The sweet sound of music
Paul Hamill of Inflyte talks about his journey from DJ and broadcaster to the development of software which matches record labels with industry taste-makers.
Tell me more about your company?
The idea for Inflyte came to me through my own experience as a music industry tastemaker (I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years as a DJ, broadcaster and record label owner). Inflyte makes software that connects record labels with music industry tastemakers. We make it easier for labels to get their music into the hands of a Fatboy Slim or Annie Mac to get their music played on radio, in the clubs or reviewed in the press. Labels who don’t use Inflyte have to either send them a CD or an email and wait for a reply. Inflyte labels can send it straight to their phones – it’s completely frictionless.
Why do you think you stood out to become the Invest NI Propel Company of the Year 2014/2015?
Firstly, I’d say we were really humbled by receiving the Company of the Year award up against so many brilliant start-ups with amazing business ideas – it was a huge surprise. We very much embraced the Propel programme, took on board the advice of the mentors and set about validating our business as well as committing to securing the investment we needed. I suppose that commitment, and the fact our business idea was viewed as ‘disruptive’ within our sector, made Inflyte stand out. We’re really proud of the award.
How did the Propel programme help you?
When I started on the programme I had no idea how to develop a business plan or how to present to investors. Propel helped build all that knowledge and all the right skills. It also opened my eyes to the potential of the business on a global level. The Propel workshops were basically an A-Z of how to scale a business and the proof that it helped is the fact that throughout the duration of the programme, we went from being a small start-up, to employing five staff in Belfast, London and Berlin.
What challenges have you faced in the early stages of setting up?
The biggest challenge we faced was getting access to finance to get the business off the ground. We found a lot of support was geared largely towards businesses with existing capital in the bank and found ourselves in a position with the capability to develop a product, but with no resource to do so. Thankfully we discovered Propel, which gave us the much-needed financial boost and all the other valuable training and connections that go with it.
How is your sector performing at the moment?
The music industry is booming and going through a period of real change. Artists and labels are struggling to find the right model as the backdrop they operate in changes from an ownership industry to a consumption industry. That constantly evolving, dynamic nature of the industry is what makes it exciting though.
What are your plans for the future?
We will continue the expansion of Inflyte across Europe and into the USA. In fact we have a mission to Silicon Valley planned in the coming weeks which will help us develop our proposition for the US market. We want to continue to develop the product and grow our team, with the ultimate aim that Inflyte will become the industry standard platform for music promo in the next few years.