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Cubic Telecom chief Barry Napier named Irish Times Business Person of the Year

Tech entrepreneur sold controlling stake in firm for €473m, one of the biggest such deals for an Irish-founded tech company

Chief executive and founder of Cubic Telecom Barry Napier has been chosen as The Irish Times Business Person of the Year for 2023, an award run in association with Bank of Ireland.

“The last award that I got was in 1983, a road safety award, so its great to be recognised again,” said Barry Napier, accepting the honour.

“We had a real good table behind us that backed us, really good investors, and we were able to put Ireland on the map, so I’m really proud to be able to stand here and say that,” he added.

Last December, the Co Wicklow resident signed a deal to sell a controlling stake in Cubic to Japanese lender Softbank for €473 million, netting Mr Napier and his fellow shareholders a multimillion euro payout in the process.


The deal — which values the company at about $1 billion (€930 million), giving it the coveted status of tech “unicorn” — was one of the biggest ever for an Irish-founded tech company. The businessman remains at the helm of the company he founded in 2005 and also retains a shareholding in the Irish tech group.

Cubic Telecom is in the business of smart vehicles. Its platform allows carmakers to monitor, manage and update their vehicles in real-time, delivering new features and functionality at any time. This means everything from diagnostics and telematics to user services like navigation and streaming entertainment.

The latest accounts for Cubic Telecom Ltd show it made an after-tax loss on revenues of €56.3 million for the year to the end of December 2022. However, the directors noted the company was at an “earnings transformation point” and expect it to continue to show significant sales growth.

The award was presented to Mr Napier by the Minister for Finance Michael McGrath at a ceremony held in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin.

He follows in the footsteps of previous winners: Barry Connolly, co-founder of Fulfil Nutrition; Anne Heraty, former head of recruiter CPL; then managing director of Ornua’s global foods division Róisín Hennerty; brothers John and Patrick Collison of payments group Stripe; and Siobhán Talbot, then group managing director of Glanbia.

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Along with the winners of three other categories, Mr Napier was chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Microsoft Ireland general manager Anne Sheehan. He was successful from a pool of winners of the Business Person of the Month award last year.

Technology entrepreneur Terry Clune and his CluneTech group won the Deal of the Year award. In June, it emerged that Mr Clune was in line for a big pay-day after his CluneTech group agreed to sell payroll software developer Immedis to US multinational UKG in a deal worth €575 million. That price tag valued Mr Clune’s holding at about €345 million

Wexford-based Greenvalley Farms Ltd, otherwise known as Killowen Farm, has won the Local Business category at the sixth annual Irish Times Business Awards, which are run in association with Bank of Ireland. It is based in Enniscorthy and produces a range of live yoghurts.

Monaghan-based entrepreneur Sam Moffett (34) won the Future Leader category, which was sponsored by EirGrid, operator of the national electricity grid. He founded Moffett Automated Storage in 2017 and the company specialises in providing automated pallet storage and warehousing solutions for clients.

In late 2023, Mr Moffett won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award and has a stated ambition to build the business into a billion-dollar company.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times