Irish tech trio top Tornado 100 list


28 Jan 2005

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Three Irish technology companies have made this year’s prestigious Tornado 100 list of Europe’s technology elite, with at least two of the companies making the list for the third year in a row.

On Wednesday at the Tornado100 Leadership Forum in London, Tornado Insider announced its fourth annual Tornado 100 list. The 2004 Tornado100 list is a critical selection of the 100 best-performing and innovative high-tech private companies of Europe and Israel in the past year.

The three Irish companies that made the list were Galway-based Am-Beo and Valista and Xsil. For Valista and Xsil it was the third year in a row that they made the list.

Identifying the 100 finest from a list of thousands of quality candidates is a task undertaken by Tornado Insider’s research department, in conjunction with industry insiders and high-tech analysts.

It was the second time in a few months that Valista made the top elite lists. In November, the company was included by IDC in a list of the 10 Emerging Wireless Players to Watch in 2005. In recent months Valista signed a technology deal potentially worth up to €10m with one of the world’s biggest internet service providers, AOL, which boasts up to 23 million customers worldwide. Evanna Kearins, director of marketing communications at Valista, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by Tornado Insider as being at the vanguard of European Technology companies. More than 150 million subscribers worldwide have access to the Valista product suite, which is fast becoming the wireless payments and premium content software of choice for leading companies such as AOL, Vodafone UK, France Telecom’s w-HA, Orange and NTT DoCoMo. Our products truly are changing the way we enjoy life around the world.”

Galway-based Am-Beo employs 52 people in Mervue Business Park near Galway City. It has eight customers, mostly European telecoms carriers and service providers, such as Lycos Europe, XTS and Xtempus, but Sonera Zed is its first tier one customer. In August 2002, Yahoo! took a 15pc stake in Zed and the two companies entered into a commercial agreement to deliver co-branded mobile services across Europe, beginning in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Meanwhile Dublin-based Xsil, which earlier this year topped the Deloitte Fast 50 listing, was recently reported in siliconrepublic.com to be pondering initial public offering opportunities. The fast-growth manufacturer of sophisticated silicon micro-machining equipment Xsil is considering the possibility of a public listing on Nasdaq, based upon strong market sentiment for its technology area. The company targeted sales of €35m for 2004 and its average customer will spend between €10m and €20m on its micro-machining technology.

By John Kennedy