IRISH tech entrepreneur Denis Murphy has been named as Catalyst’s Innovation Founder for 2019 by a panel of the north’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Mr Murphy’s Belfast firm Apion grew into a European leader for wireless mobile network software during the late 90s, before it was acquired in 1999 by US-based Phone.com in a deal worth $239m.
He was unanimously chosen by a panel of past winners of the Innovation Founder award, now in its 10th year.
Previous winners of the award include John Rainey, James Lecky, Martin Naughton, Dr William Wright, Dr Peter FitzGerald, Tom Eakin, Dr Hugh Cormican, Prof John Anderson and First Derivatives founder Brian Conlon, who sadly passed away this year.
Following the success of Apion, Mr Murphy co-founded application software firm Mobile Cohesion, which created 70 jobs and raised more than $20m (£18m) 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.
Mr Murphy is also one of the north’s best known angel investors, backing companies such as Lagan Technologies, which was acquired by Kana Software for $29m (£26m).
Reacting to the award, the tech entrepreneur 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.”
Catalyst chief executive Steve Orr 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.”
Catalyst will honour Denis Murphy at the annual Invent Awards, the finale celebration of Catalyst’s Invent competition to find the north’s breakthrough inventions, which is sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK.
Around 700 people are expected to attend the event at ICC Waterfront, Belfast on October 10.