Business Person of the Month

October 2011: Colm Lyon, CEO, Realex Payments

By Business & Finance
02 November 2011
Colm Lyon 2011

Founded in 2000 the company has become one of Europe’s leading payment gateways, processing more than €12bn per annum.


Online payment processor Realex Payments recently announced that it is to create 50 new vacancies at its Monkstown office in Dublin as a result of securing a significant deal in the UK which will double its client base from 5,000 to 10,000 retailers.

CEO Colm Lyon founded the company in 2000 and has grown it to become one of Europe’s leading payment gateways, processing in excess of €12bn per annum for retailers in over 25 countries.

Revenue for year ended April 2011 increased by 10% to €7.6mn and accumulated profits increased 14% to €3.5mn.

Realex processes payments for merchants domestically and internationally, across a wide range of industries including airlines, mobile carriers, utilities, insurance companies and gaming companies. Their client base includes Virgin Atlantic, Vodafone, Aer Lingus, Boylesports and GlaxoSmithKline.

European expansion

Realex is headquarted in Dublin and Lyon says that they are working hard to expand their bases within continental Europe.

“Over the last few years, we have invested heavily in expanding our operations throughout Europe,” he said. “Our UK business is now boarding almost 100 retailers a month.

“We opened in Paris earlier this year and are now live processing into local French banks. In addition, we have established initial operations in Amsterdam and we are live within an Italian bank.”

Realex say that overseas customers now account for over 50% of their transaction volume.


Lyon was involved with his first company at age 11 when he and his brothers began a local newspaper delivery service.

He graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Management Science Degree and has spent further time in Harvard and Stanford Business School.

Lyon has worked in payment-related businesses for over 25 years, starting with 14 years in the financial services sector. He is a regular speaker at payments and internet industry events across Europe and frequently commentates for press as a payments and internet industry expert.


Earlier this year, Colm received the prestigious Ruban d’Honneur in round two of the European Business Awards which promote excellence, best practice and innovation in the European business community. In 2009, he was awarded the Internet Hero Award at the Golden Spider Awards for his contribution to the Irish Internet Industry and in 2007, was awarded lifetime membership of the Irish Internet Association after four years as chairman. Realex was also the headline sponsor at the recent Irish Web Awards.


Lyon is also involved in other internet start-up businesses and has plans to launch a major new payment business Carapay in early 2012. Carapay is one of the first new companies to be awarded a licence under the Payment Service Directive (PSD) which allows new companies into the European market without having a banking licence.

The firm intends to advance the way customers and business transfer money and will incorporate a number of secure and social web and mobile applications.

Merc logoBusiness & Finance, Business Person of the Month

Business & Finance, in association with MERC Partners, has been awarding excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award over the last number of years. These awards seek to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.