Joan Mulvihill named winner of overall Net Visionary Award 2016

8 Oct 2016

Pictured from left: Eamonn Grant, chairman of the IIA; Joan Mulvihill, CEO of IIA; and Una McCutcheon, customer operations manager at IEDR

In a surprise development, the Irish Internet Association’s outgoing CEO Joan Mulvihill was named the recipient of the overall .IE Net Visionary Award 2016.

In what was an emotionally charged evening, and the last official occasion for Mulvihill as CEO of the organisation, the dynamic businesswoman was caught completely unawares.

After seven years, Joan Mulvihill is stepping down as the CEO of the Irish Internet Association (IIA).

Despite the strict schedule for the awards being adhered to without question, host for the evening Paul Hayes deviated with relish from the timetable and invited David Kerr, CEO of, to the stage.

Breaking with tradition and placing the overall Net Visionary Award winner announcement at the start of the evening, Kerr used Mulvihill’s “This Person” construct in his speech to sum up Mulvhill’s unique character and the dynamism she brought to the role of CEO.

Mulvihill was left almost speechless as Kerr extolled her “can-do” attitude and how she brought the IIA to an unprecedented level in terms of lobbying, government and media through campaigns such as Digitise the Nation.

Her recognition as overall Net Visionary Award winner 2016 received a standing ovation.

“One of the main reasons why the .IE Net Visionary Awards are so important is that it showcases our industry leaders, and it also lets other Irish businesses visualise the endless possibilities that the digital economy presents,” said David Curtin, CEO of the Irish Domain Registry (IEDR) and main sponsor of the awards.

“At IEDR, we would also like to recognise the contribution of Joan Mulvihill to the success of these awards over the years, and even more important, her contribution to the wider IIA and its vital work in promoting technology amongst all sectors of the Irish business community. Her work has been invaluable in driving on this objective and we wish her every success for the future.”

Des Traynor of Intercom inducted into Hall of Fame

Inducted into the IIA Hall of Fame was Des Traynor, co-founder of Intercom.

Intercom, a game changer in how businesses communicate with customers online, was founded in San Francisco by four Irishmen – Des Traynor, Ciaran Lee, Eoghan McCabe and David Barrett. Most of the company’s technology is made in Dublin, where the company currently employs 140 people at its Stephen’s Green offices. Worldwide, the company employs 250 people.

In recent months Intercom, which has 13,000 paying customers and over 1bn users of its messaging platform, revealed plans to create 100 new jobs in Dublin after raising $50m in investment from top-tier Silicon Valley investors, including Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield.

“In recognising Des Traynor for his part in co-founding Intercom and his phenomenal contribution to the community, we are also recognising his values and qualities as a leader,” Mulvihill said.

“Des is focused on the importance of great design of a great product and in doing so, he has built something extraordinary with Intercom.  People like Des, and indeed all of those attending tonight, make you see what it means to have a real community. It’s the support and generosity of these that makes Ireland such a great place to be and we are very proud of the fact that the IIA has been part of the journey for so many of them.”

Mulvihill added that Traynor continues a tradition of software entrepreneurs being recognised in the awards; including previous winners Ray Nolan of Hostelworld and Eamon Leonard of Orchestra/Engine Yard fame, and now CEO of Cohort.

“In celebrating Des Traynor’s induction to the IIA Hall of Fame, we mark a decade of Irish entrepreneurs supporting one another. Government policy must now support them,” Mulvhill said just days in advance of a Budget where Finance Minister Michael Noonan, TD, is expected to make a long overdue overhaul of Ireland’s outmoded Capital Gains Tax model.

Among the winners was, the agency behind the Silicon Republic website, which recently won an award for Best Web Development Agency.

Winners of the 2016 .IE Net Visionary Awards

Award Category



Joan Mulvihill, CEO of the IIA

Best in Universal Design

Best Website Design – ‘most joyous to look at and splendid to use’

The Friday Agency for

Best Web Development Agency

Best Cloud Service to Optimise Business Performance


Best Mobile Service or Application

DPD Parcel Wizard

Best Internationally Scaling Irish Business


Best Start-up – the one to watch for 2017


Best eCommerce Execution by a Retailer


Best International Newcomer – ‘Welcome to the neighbourhood’

Optimal Workshop

Best Social Media Campaign

The Friday Agency for

Best Brand Marketing – seamless integration of online and offline messaging

RTE for The 1916 Commemoration

Best Use of Video and Imaging Tools for Digital Marketing

Glanbia for BSN Supplements

Best Use of Technology to make the world a better place

Best Innovation for Financial Services


Best Innovation in Health/Medical

Beats Medical

Best Innovation for Agri- Food Sector


Best Innovation in Technology for Learning

Doodle Creative

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years