September 2012: Colm Lyon, CEO, Realex Payments

Business Person of the Month | Tue 2 Oct | Author – Business & Finance
Colm Lyon
Constantin Gurdgiev, editor, Business & Finance; Ian Hyland, publisher, Business & Finance; Colm Lyon, CEO, Realex Payments; Kieran Duff, partner, MERC Partners.

With revenue up 28% during the year and transaction volumes up 44%, the online payments processor is poised for accelerated expansion.


Online payment processor Realex Payments announced that is to create 50 new jobs by the end of next year at its newly-opened offices in Dublin’s docklands.

Realex founder and CEO Colm Lyon says that the jobs were part of company plans to accelerate expansion in the Irish and international markets and employee numbers will be required to increase from 120 people to 170 by the end of next year.

The new offices are equipped to accommodate 250 people, allowing for further room for expansion.

Lyon founded the company in 2000 and has grown it to become one of Europe’s leading payment gateways with 3,550 online retailers as clients and a total client base of over 8,300. Realex processes payments for merchants domestically and internationally, across a wide range of industries including airlines, mobile carriers, utilities, insurance companies and gaming companies. Some significant wins during the year included signing up Paddy Power, Hostel Bookers,, Cocosa and 7 Day Shop. Existing clients include Virgin Atlantic, Vodafone, Aer Lingus, Boylesports and GlaxoSmithKline.

Processing growth

In the financial year to April, Realex processed €13.4bn across its client base, reflecting a high average transaction value of over €190.

Since the year end, the company has seen the growth rate increase further and in June, Realex Payments processed in excess of €1.5bn for a month, translating to €18bn per annum. Revenue increased by 28% to €9.8mn during the year while transaction volumes by 44% to 70 million. This surge in growth has been largely driven by its activities in the UK and Europe. Revenue in the UK market grew by 95% and in continental Europe by 31%.

Realex is headquartered in Dublin and will remain so but the impressive continental figures show why Realex also currently has offices in London and Paris.

Opening Realex Payments new offices in September, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the firm was at the forefront of innovation and “exemplifies the type of company that will be central to the recovery of our economy”.

HSBC deal

Earlier this year, Realex Payments signed a six-year deal with HSBC Merchant Services which will potentially give Realex access to an additional 5,000 clients by the end of the year.

The deal saw Realex provide a fully managed services solution for HSBC’s online retailers and provided specific support services to corporate and SME clients. The provision of a dedicated customer support function was to be based in Dublin, according to the deal.


Lyon was involved with his first company at the age of 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 and frequently commentates for press as a payments and internet industry expert.

CV highlights

  • UCD ‘Alumni of the Year’2012
  • Irish Software Association’s ‘Software Industry Person of the Year’ 2011

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.