Frosted is a revenue-generating media platform that acts as the epicentre of Irish urban music and culture.

Through engaging video content, articles, events and more, Frosted is intent on revolutionising the way artists as well as other forms of creatives are promoted, enabling the discovery of talent from across the country.

“When you hear the words ‘Irish music’, what comes to mind first? Westlife? Christy Moore? U2?,” asked co-founder Declan Loy.

“We have curated a diverse line-up of artists and guests, with our main aim being to showcase the various aspects of the Irish creative scene”

“Whilst these guys are great, they don’t represent what many of us, especially the youth, are currently listening to. For example, Post Malone was Ireland’s most streamed artist of 2019 and Drake was the most listened to artist of the decade on Spotify, both of which are hip-hop/R&B acts.

“Even Dublin’s Longitude festival has completely transformed its line up in recent years to align with this trend. This shows that the type of music we are now consuming has changed. In addition, the way we consume it has evolved in today’s digital age, especially during the pandemic. The connectivity of social media and streaming platforms means that creative work is more accessible than ever. This all has led to a whole new generation of Irish music and creativity. However, it lacks structure, opportunities and media coverage. This means that upcoming talent is struggling to breakthrough and gain proper exposure.”

The music industry alone contributed €703m to the Irish economy in 2017, which represented a 48pc increase from 2012. It was also supporting more than 13,130 jobs, which increased by 14pc. On top of this, the total revenues for the global recorded music market grew by 8.2pc to $20.2bn in 2019, with streaming revenue growing by 22.9pc to $11.4bn. Further, the total direct expenditure of the wider arts sector in the Ireland was estimated to be €1.55bn as far back as 2010.

“This proves that this is not only an extremely valuable market for the Irish and global economy, but it is rapidly growing without showing any signs of slowing down,” said Loy.

The company was one of 10 start-ups that took part in the LaunchBox accelerator. LaunchBox, in partnership with Bank of Ireland, and managed by experts in Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace at Trinity College Dublin, provides mentorship, funding, access to alumni and investors, and the ideal collaborative environment to launch new start-up ventures. This is the eighth year of LaunchBox, but the first year that the programme is running online.

As cool as ice

“Frosted is a music and culture platform for the modern-day Ireland,” says Frosted co-founder Monjola Mobolaji. “We built it to act as the epicentre of the ‘new wave’ of Irish music and culture. We embrace diversity and aid the discovery of talent from both sides of the border. Thus, we aim to accelerate the careers of the people we promote and support the growth of the Irish creative scene. However, we’re much more than just a blog.

“Our high-quality ‘Cold Room’ chat show as well as our ‘Frosted Flavours’ visual performance sessions showcase the work and personalities of our guests in the most engaging ways to our growing, targeted audience. We also have active social media accounts that post regular content and update our Spotify playlist frequently. In addition, our events help to create a regular gigging economy.

“This enables the people we work with gain experience, increase their reach and monetise their work. All whilst providing entertainment for Ireland and beyond. Feel free to check out our website (soon to be updated) and socials to get more of an insight into what it is that we do.”

As well as being online at Frosted.ie, Frosted is active across YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter and Facebook.

“Moving forward, we are working on our Season 2 project, for which we have increased our production quality massively, thanks to support from LaunchBox. We have curated a diverse line-up of artists and guests, with our main aim being to showcase the various aspects of the Irish creative scene. We will also be launching our merchandise on our improved website and hosting a series of events when it is safe to do so. See below for a sneak peak of what’s in store.”

Entrepreneurial edge

The founders of Frosted are Declan Loy and Monjola Mobolaji. Declan, originally from County Down, moved to Dublin five years ago to study Engineering with Management at Trinity College. It was then that he met Monjola, a business and marketing student from Maynooth University, who runs the CVC collective, hosting exhibitions all around Ireland.

Monjola is also an artist himself. He opened Declan’s eyes to the bubbling creative scene across the country. Declan, who previously had no exposure to the this kind of Irish talent having lived in the northern countryside, instantly became a fan.

“Together, it became our passion to bring this scene to the global stage, provide opportunities for like-minded people and inspire the future generations by showing them that it is possible to make an impact from Ireland. Starting small and after gaining traction, we decided to see how far we could take it,” Loy said.

“We believe that the support for start-ups in Dublin and Ireland as whole is fantastic. Programmes like LaunchBox, Tangent’s student accelerator, provide invaluable experience, learning opportunities, funding, office space and access to a network of amazing connections within the start-up world. Other initiatives such as Enterprise Ireland, New Frontiers and Local Enterprise Offices also offer great assistance in getting your idea off the ground. In addition, schemes like InvestNI and the Go For It programme in the north are extremely helpful.

“It is evident that the need to develop a healthy start-up ecosystem is necessary for the growth of the Irish economy and well-being, so it is great to see such a governmental focus on this. Further, the uptake in interest in entrepreneurship as a result of early education on the topic also fills us with optimism for the future. However, in saying this, we feel that more support should be offered to start-ups within the arts and culture sector, considering its value to the economy and daily life. This is something we would like to see change in the future,” said Loy.

“Our business model is rather unconventional, which means we have to raise money in ways that aren’t typical of other start-ups. We recently secured funding from LaunchBox, which we have relied heavily on to take things to the next level, and for that we are extremely grateful. We are also revenue-generating, which is helping us to bootstrap as we continue to grow. On top of this, we are in the process of securing sponsorship for our projects and aim to apply to grant schemes in the near future.”

Like most start-ups of their era, the latest cloud and mobile apps keep the show on the road.

“We definitely need to have research more tools that can help with running the business,” Loy said. “In order to stay on top of things, we currently use Teamup for scheduling our activities. In addition, we use Excel for drawing up budgets, Slack for communication and Microsoft Teams for meetings. We have also been advised to use Xero, an accounting software, for keeping track of our financials, which we will take a look into very soon.”

Aiming high

Even though they are at the start of their entrepreneurial journey, many lessons have been learnt,

“Our biggest mistake would probably be that we tried to do too much at the beginning,” Monjola explained. “We thought that we needed to hit every pain point at once from the get-go, you know, start as you mean to go on etc. However, this meant we were not able to fully focus on our main value propositions.

“This then led to a period of reduced activity for around five months where we decided to refine our operations and focus on what makes us unique. This taught us that patience is key. There is a right time for everything and you can always pivot or expand as you grow.”

Advice to fellow founders is always seek feedback. “Feedback is paramount,” says Monjola. “Always seek external opinions on your ideas, both from your target demographic and beyond. Take their responses on board and adapt accordingly. After all, you aren’t making the product for yourself.

“This also feeds into another key point, don’t wait around for ‘perfection’ before starting. Get your MVP (minimal viable product) out there and analyse how it is perceived. Then make changes. It’s very rare that anyone gets it right first time, so just go for it!

“Lastly, the team you form is everything. They are your company. Your product is simply a reflection of the people that create it. So, invest in the right people and the right people will invest in you.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 21 September, 2020

Recommended