About Ben Bowler – CEO and Founder of Chew
Ben Bowler’s music and technology career began early. A drummer since the age of six, he also studied technology at school. He left college to freelance and run an e-learning start-up. But his interest in electronic music and DJing grew, and he came to London to get experience via internships.
“I started at a company called AEI Media as a marketing intern and went from there to become a key member of the team, building their live streaming and e-commerce platform,” he explained. “From there I moved to Vice to work on their ad sales and internal business apps – and enjoy the pub they own in Shoreditch!”
Bowler says the seed that became Chew came out of working for AEI. “Live streaming was a critical way of pushing new content and promoting releases to a global audience,” he said.
Meeting Chew co-founder Wil Benton was, Bowler, said, a turning point. “I’d been introduced to Wil the year before and loved his writing style and approach to life from his blog FatKidOnFire,” he said. “After working on a small project together, we started on what was then a sideline project that turned into something more.”
“We had the core of a live-streaming platform for music.”
With the help of a start-up loan, Chew officially came into being at the start of 2014. “We had the core of a live-streaming platform for music, but we lacked focus,” said Bowler. “By the end of the year we were charging as much as £500 per month to use the platform, but we’d become more of a production company than a platform.”
At the end of 2014 Chew was accepted into the Ignite accelerator program, which helped them re-focus and re-build the platform into what it is now. Since then, Chew has seen a rapid increase in the number of DJs and music fans coming into the community.