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Belfast developing fame for technology, says ex-mogul who worked with Kanye West and Justin Bieber

By John Mulgrew

Published 04/09/2015

Ex-music executive Jon Vanhala has been singing the praises of Belfast's development of technology
Ex-music executive Jon Vanhala has been singing the praises of Belfast's development of technology

Belfast is developing a world-class reputation for technology and young start-up business, according to a top ex-music executive who worked with the likes of Kanye West and Justin Bieber.

Investor Jon Vanhala said the tech community in Northern Ireland "has set up the underlying fundamentals for incredible growth".

"There are incredible talents coming out of both Ulster University and Queen's University," he said.

"There is obviously big governmental support, and these are all key pillars.

"Belfast has incredible opportunity here and it's developing a reputation."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph at the TechXplore event in the city, Mr Vanhala said young companies and start-ups should look for help and focus on the areas where they are failing.

Mr Vanhala was at the forefront of digital and tech, working for Universal Music Group and Def Jam Music Group, in order to help grow new revenue streams for the business.

He said: "I was head of digital and new business for their biggest business unit. The artists I was fortunate to work with included Kanye West, Jay Z, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber, as well as hundreds you might not have heard of."

Mr Vanhala also formed Crossfade Partners, working with start-up firms right across the globe.

Meanwhile the man behind the Twitter accounts of some of the UK's biggest shows and companies has said Belfast is a "vibrant place for technology" and firms here should start embracing social media.

David Levin is one half of social media firm That Lot - the other half is comedian, actor and writer David Schneider.

It counts shows including The Voice and The Apprentice, along with big name firms such as Vodafone and mobile phone maker HTC, among its clients.

Mr Levin said: "Belfast seems to be a very vibrant place for technology.

"Talking to businesses, if you are going to do social media badly, especially Twitter, then there's almost no point. But, if you do it right, it can have massive benefits and value."

Meanwhile Joe Galvin of Dublin-based agency Storyful said the news landscape had been "changed entirely".

Now in its third year, TechXplore drew a host of speakers from across the world of technology - including start-ups, social media and music.

Belfast Telegraph

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