Colm Lyon wins national fintech award for contribution to sector

15 Sep 2023

From left: Derek F Butler and Colm Lyon. Image: Mac Innes Photography

As founder of Realex and Fire, Colm Lyon has been at the forefront of Irish fintech for more than two decades.

Colm Lyon, an Irish entrepreneur and one of the most well-known faces in European fintech, was handed the Outstanding Achievement Award at the inaugural National Fintech Awards in Ireland last night (14 September).

Lyon is the founder of Realex Payments and Fire Financial Services. He has more than three decades of experience in the financial services and technology sectors. He was one of the fintech pioneers in Ireland before the sector experienced a boom in recent times.

Organised and hosted by the Grid Foundation at Dublin’s Mansion House, the National Fintech Awards said that Lyon’s “visionary approach and commitment to innovation” have played a “crucial role” in the fintech ecosystem in Ireland and abroad.

“The judging panel were delighted to recognise Colm not just for his achievement in fintech but also for his contribution to policy, thought leadership and helping the next generation of founders and start-ups,” said Derek Foley Butler, chair of Grid Foundation.

Founded in 2000, Realex Payments became one of Europe’s largest and most successful online payments businesses within a decade. It was processing more than €28bn per annum for 12,500 online retailers before being acquired by Global Payments for €115m.

Lyon also founded Fire in 2009 as a digital payments business that helps businesses get paid, pay out and go digital with their payment processes.

Regulated in Ireland and the UK, Fire now processes billions of euro for thousands of business customers – including some global financial institutions.

Lyon called the award “special” and one that he feels “incredibly proud about”.

“It’s a huge credit to the organisers to create these awards as it brings the industry together to celebrate our collective achievements. I want to thank everyone associated with these awards for this accolade,” he said.

“I also wish to thank the team at Fire for inspiring me with their commitment, passion and determination to build the best digital payments business.”

The National Fintech Awards recognises and celebrates “exceptional” contributions and innovations from individuals and companies improving Ireland’s financial system.

Other winners last night included Mai Santamaria for Public Servant of the Year, Joe Morley of Truelayer for Pioneer of the Year, Transfermate for Company of the Year, and Payslip for Regional Fintech of the Year.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic