The CameraMatics founder was honoured with the award after reaching a shortlist of 12 entrepreneurs nominated by their peers.
After a year’s hiatus caused by Covid-19, Enterprise Ireland’s HPSU Founder of the Year Award is back with a new winner for 2021.
Mervyn O’Callaghan was crowned Founder of the Year 2021 at a virtual ceremony broadcast today (24 June).
He was among a dozen founders of high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) nominated by their peers for the award, which was sponsored by Grant Thornton.
O’Callaghan founded CameraMatics along with Simon Murray in 2016 and he leads the company as CEO.
Formerly called ProVision, CameraMatics provides SaaS technology for fleet and driver risk management, with a focus on connected vehicle camera technology. Its products and services focus on reducing accidents, improving efficiencies and managing compliance. The company is currently scaling internationally, taking early steps into the US market.
“Absolutely shocked” by his win, O’Callaghan gave praise to the team at CameraMatics and his co-founder.
Coming from a background as a qualified accountant, O’Callaghan’s advice to other entrepreneurs was to remember that cash management and funding are key to executing a vision. “The best time to raise funding is when you don’t need it,” he said.
For its own future plans, CameraMatics raised €4m in a Series A funding round earlier this year.
The Founder of the Year award represents the culmination of the HPSU Founders Forum. This programme from Enterprise Ireland and business advisers Select Strategies gives founders of high-potential start-ups a place to connect with one another, building a network of support and shared experience.
O’Callaghan thanked all the entrepreneurs who participated in Founders Forum for the knowledge they imparted.
“The whole Founders Forum has been a great experience and I’m just honoured and privileged to represent everyone, because they’re all great companies,” he said.
“Having that interaction with other entrepreneurs, sharing problems and getting their feedback and advice has been invaluable,” he added.
From the 12 peer-nominated founders, a judging panel chaired by Jenny Melia, manager of the HPSU team at Enterprise Ireland, selected just three finalists for Founder of the Year.
Melia commended all of this year’s Founders Forum entrepreneurs for their resilience in a tough year for businesses everywhere.
“I think the founders did incredibly well to come through what has been a really challenging 15 months,” she said.
“They embraced the virtual environment, they availed of the Covid impact supports made available from Enterprise Ireland and across the wider Government bodies. And I think what we really saw was the resilience of the founders and the resilience of their teams. They really did everything they could to keep their teams together, and this was incredibly important.”