Irish telecoms software firm Openet is European ‘entrepreneur of the year’

25 Sep 2013

Joe Hogan, Openet founder and CTO, and Niall Norton, CEO, after the Irish-born company won the 'European Entrepreneur of the Year' accolade at the Tech Tour event in Berlin last night

Irish network operator software vendor Openet has been named European Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2013 Tech Growth Summit in Berlin, Germany, last night. Joe Hogan, Openet founder and CTO, and Niall Norton, CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the Dublin-headquartered firm.

While accepting the award, Hogan spoke about how it was “rewarding” for Openet to be recognised by its peers.

He said Openet has put creativity and hard graft into building real-time decision-making systems for some of the world’s largest communications service providers.

“Our products enable operators to fully realise the commercial potential of their networks as they diversify consumer offerings.”

Openet, he said, enables the ‘internet of things’ for operators, as well as helping them explore new business models.

Tech Tour behind awards

This is the eighth year that Tech Tour has run the awards to put the spotlight on innovative and emerging technology companies from around Europe that are making an impact, both in terms of disrupting industries and empowering society.

Past winners in the Entrepreneur category have included Betfair, MySQL, and Wonga.

Last night’s win for Openet was apparently the first time that an indigenous Irish company has been named as an overall winner in the entrepreneurship category of these particular awards.

The Swedish eye-tracking innovator Tobii Technology, meanwhile, won the top innovation accolade. Other winners in this category include Soundcloud, Meltwater Group and Novaled.

Beginning of Openet

Hogan founded Openet in 1999 in a Dublin basement office. Norton joined the company in 2004.

Openet’s global headquarters have been based in Park West Business Park in Dublin since 2002.

In June of last year, Openet completed a US$21m (€16.9m) funding round and at the time there was speculation Openet would be primed for an IPO.

In recent months, Openet also acquired the University College Dublin spin-out Forkstream, and has been forging deals with partners around the globe.

In 2012, for instance, it won a deal with T-Mobile in the Netherlands to deploy a real-time billing platform. In that same year, Openet signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei’s mLAB so the duo could jointly explore opportunities in the mobile broadband market.

Last night’s award was not the first time Openet has been in the entrepreneurial spotlight.

Amongst other recent accolades, the company was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Ireland in 2011.

Lisa Vaughan, Enterprise Ireland’s head of high-potential start-ups, has welcomed the news about Openet becoming Tech Tour’s latest winner in the entrepreneurship category.

“This is a richly deserved award for one of Ireland’s leading software companies,” said Vaughan.

“Openet is an ambitious and impressive company with a proven track record internationally for leading-edge technology.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic