by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Tech sector entrepreneur Denis Murphy has been named as Catalyst’s Innovation Founder for 2019 by a panel of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs.   Now in its 10th year, the Bank of Ireland UK sponsored Innovation Founder award celebrates Northern Ireland’s rich history of innovation and is awarded to a person who has achieved success in founding, leading or building a celebrated local innovative business.


 

Following a nomination process Denis was unanimously chosen by a panel of past winners of the Innovation Founder award.  Previous winners of the award include John Rainey MBE, James Lecky, Martin Naughton KBE, Dr William Wright CBE, Dr Peter FitzGerald CBE, Tom Eakin, Dr Hugh Cormican, Prof John Anderson and First Derivatives founder Brian Conlon, who sadly passed away this year.

 

Denis, who is co-founder and CEO of cloud service company Anaeko, has more than 20 years’ experience in IT and mobile telecoms, founding and managing a number of locally based tech companies including Apion and Mobile Cohesion.

 

Founded in 1996, telecoms software company Apion grew to become a European leader for wireless mobile network software and employed over 200 people before being sold in 1999 to Phone.com for US$239m. Following the success of Apion, Denis co-founded application software firm Mobile Cohesion, which created 70 jobs and raised more than US$20m over a six-year period. 

 

His present business, Anaeko is a cloud integration company with a focus on data management and analytics. It employs 50 people across two sites in Belfast and Enniskillen. Denis is also an experienced angel investor who has invested in companies such as Lagan Technologies, which was acquired by Kana Software for US$29m.

 

Catalyst will honour Denis at the annual Invent Awards, the finale celebration of Catalyst’s Invent competition to find Northern Ireland’s breakthrough inventions, which is sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK.

 

Denis Murphy said: “It is a great privilege to receive the Innovation Founder award. I am honoured to be included within such a distinguished group of entrepreneurs who have contributed so much to Northern Ireland.”

 

Niall Devlin from Invent Awards sponsors Bank of Ireland UK said: “We are proud to support the Innovation Founder award in recognition of Northern Ireland’s innovation heroes. Their talent and courage is vital inspiration for future generations of innovators who are essential for the future local Economy. I’m delighted to announce Denis as this year’s recipient, another very worthy winner. That the award is now in its 10th year speaks volumes as the heritage of innovation and entrepreneurship we have here in Northern Ireland.

 

“Denis has been instrumental in the creation of almost 500 jobs in the local technology sector as a founder and investor. He continues to champion innovation at Anaeko and has played an important role in helping to establish Northern Ireland’s position in the global technology industry.”

 

Steve Orr, CEO of Catalyst, said: “Northern Ireland’s tech sector has expanded significantly in recent years and we have a growing reputation for producing talented software developers and engineers. The growth of the industry is in no small part down to pioneers like Denis and the companies they founded, which have paved the way for the current crop of start-up and scale-up entrepreneurs.

 

“Denis’ entrepreneurial drive and his work as an investor and mentor mean that he continues to have a big influence on the industry and I am delighted he has been named as 2019’s Innovation Founder.”

 

This year’s award will be formally presented at the Invent Awards 2019 on 10th October in the ICC Waterfront, Belfast, which is expected to be attended by around 700 investors, entrepreneurs, executives and student innovators and where the final winners of Invent 2019 will be announced.

 

For more information on INVENT go to www.invent2019.co   

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Niall Devlin, Head of Regional Business Banking NI from Invent Award sponsors Bank of Ireland UK, Innovation Founder award winner Denis Murphy and Catalyst INC CEO Steve Orr.

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