Irish Success Stories

Some people think that it’s just a faze, but the internet is here to stay. It has transformed the way we carry out our everyday tasks and most can’t live without it. There are 1,000s of really successful online entrepreneurs worldwide but Ireland has a few of their own. To give examples of what can be achieved, here are three remarkable Irish internet success stories.    


Realex is a leading payment service provider, with offices in Dublin, Paris and London. They supply services for over 3500 clients in Ireland and internationally. Some of their clients include Vodafone, Aer Lingus and Party Poker. They process billions of euro per annum. In 2008 they announced that they plan to double their staff the in the next two or three years, currently Realex employ around 70 staff. At the end of their financial year in April 2009 they announced turnover of €6.5 million, with pre tax profits of €720k. The founder and CEO of Realex is Colm Lyons. Colm founded the company in 2000 and it has expanded year on year. He has almost 25 years in the payment related business, with 14 years in Ulster bank in senior IT positions. In 2005 Colm was awarded for his leadership when he was a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  He was also director of the Irish Internet Association for four years. Colm is a graduate of University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Management Science Degree.  Over the past few years he has spent further time in Harvard, Shanghai Business School and Stanford Business School.


StatCounter are an Irish owned web business that provides a website traffic counting tool. Its USP is its ability to supply accurate real-time website statistics with detailed visitor tracking and analysis. They describe their mission as “to help our members easily understand their visitors, so they can make good decisions to become more successful online". They have set out a number of founding principles to support this aim. StatCounter have around 2 million customers and have over 45 million page views per month. This is evidence that they have a strong presence globally in their industry. The company was founded in 1999 by Aodhan Cullen who at the time was frustrated with other counter providers being too slow to load. His duty was to build a quicker more efficient service, and he delivered. Over time he developed his business that he started when he was 16 into an international success. Aodhan who set up his first business at 12 received the award of Business Week Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007. Other awards include the 2008 internet hero at the Eircom Golden Spiders.  His dedication over the past 11 years has been the main reason for StatCounters phenomenal achievements.


Hostel World
HostelWorld provides online confirmed bookings for hostels, tours as well as content on city and country travel guides. All bookings are made securely, in real time and are guaranteed to the customer. Since 1999 they have provided the bookings for over 70 million beds. There are a vast amount of hostels to choose from, with over 20,000 properties in 6,000 destinations spanning 170 countries. In 2001 they released their affiliate program which made content available to partner sites. The program has been adopted by over 3,000 companies including Ryanair, Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet. Ray Nolan founded HostelWorld when he identified an opportunity to introduce online bookings to the hostel industry. This was a region which was previously ignored by the majority of online travel companies. He has been an influential leader in the Irish technology sector. In 1989 at 22 he started a software company for the hospitality and legal sectors. Ray ended up with around €100 million worth of shares when HostelWorld entered the stock exchange, and in recent years released annual figures of a turnover of €27.3 million and a profit of €16.6 million. Ray received awards such as the Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the year 2003 and the Irish Internet Association Net Visionary in 2006.

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