I am a technologist and entrepreneur from Dublin, Ireland. My most recent company was PageFair, where I was CEO and co-founder, helping web publishers stop revenue loss due to adblocking. PageFair was acquired by Blockthrough in late 2018. Prior to PageFair, I was best known as as the technical cofounder of Demonware, which pioneered online technology for the world’s leading video games, including Call of Duty and Guitar Hero, and which was acquired by the largest video games company in the world in 2007. I also founded and co-organize Techpreneurs, an invite-only monthly meetup for Irish technology founders.
I am currently running the Irish national startup accelerator programme at Dogpatch Labs. Through my company Nuium I take on consulting projects here and there, develop some open source and voluntary projects, and spend quite a bit of time on IoT R&D. I have a plan to launch an IoT accelerator and lab, with a focus on B2B climate-tech and agri-tech.
I’ve been starting companies since I was 19, beginning with a web 1.0 consultancy in the mid 90s, and graduating through Phorest (initially specializing in early mobile messaging in 2000) to DemonWare, which I co-founded with Dylan Collins in 2003.
We specialized in online video gaming. I had an amazing time hiring geniuses, inventing new technology to solve hard problems, throwing wild parties on double-decker buses in LA, and getting to work with the best companies in the business on popular Playstation and Xbox games like Guitar Hero and Call of Duty.
DemonWare was acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2007, and I remained on for a while as a VP. Demonware prospered as the core online technology platform of Activision, growing to hundreds of talented staff in Dublin, Vancouver, Montreal and Shanghai, and operating the most successful video game franchise of all time, Call of Duty. This is a wonderful culmination of our original vision: we started with a lone conviction that multiplayer games like Counter Strike were going to go mainstream. This was borne out in Counter Strike’s spiritual descendant, Call of Duty, which not only runs on top of DemonWare, but is a multiplayer game first and a single player game second.
After DemonWare I found myself in the Zynga era of web-based social gaming, a continuation of the multiplayer arc, distilled down and gone mainstream. With Brian McDonnell I re-engineered and ran Utopia, a massively multiplayer team-based web strategy game. I believe it to be oldest running game of its kind, with an extremely dedicated base of users, many of whom have been playing since the game’s launch in the late 1990s. Utopia was acquired by MUGA Gaming in 2017.
I was consulting CTO in Jolt Online in 2010, after its acquisition by GameStop, and I rapidly built a dev team, helped launch a few new social games, and built an interesting gamified internal sales campaign platform that was used by about 30 thousand staff.
In 2011 I co-founded Front Square and built a multiplayer social game and gamified platform to teach the principles of Lean Six Sigma in an enterprise setting. This scalably solved a very difficult education-delivery problem, but was killed by a long sales cycle.
In 2012 Brian McDonnell and I regrouped as Scale Front, a venture lab in which we tried to parallelize the Lean Startup method. We filtered 50 business ideas down to 5 product launches, and produced 2 businesses. One of these businesses, PageFair, soon became our core focus.
We built PageFair into an internationally-recognised brand in digital media, researching the growth of adblocking, publishing widely-anticipated annual adblocking reports, placing the challenge of advertising sustainability on top of the online media industry’s agenda, and worked with hundreds of leading online newspapers, magazines and other websites to recover lost revenue through high-quality non-blockable ad technology. In November 2018, PageFair was acquired by Blockthrough Inc.