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A Conversation with Iain McConnon About Gaining Knowledge and Growing from Life Experiences

Iain McConnon is an award-winning entrepreneur and has launched multiple start-ups across several verticals over the last 20 years. Iain specialises in mobile telecoms, digital and online advertising, and mobile operator billing, Iain also consults for start-ups and business looking to expand overseas. Over his career he has launched multiple business, won prestige awards, and […]

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Iain McConnon
Iain McConnon

Iain McConnon is an award-winning entrepreneur and has launched multiple start-ups across several verticals over the last 20 years.

Iain specialises in mobile telecoms, digital and online advertising, and mobile operator billing, Iain also consults for start-ups and business looking to expand overseas. Over his career he has launched multiple business, won prestige awards, and has successfully opened global offices in Sydney, Johannesburg, and S F for his companies.

Iain has been involved both as an inventor and founder of numerous companies including: Trackhouse where Iain is an investor and mentor. Launched in 2020, Trackhouse is a global leading digital promotion and advertising tracking platform.Global Billing Solutions where Iain is the Co-Founder. Global Billing Solutions is one of the world’s leading direct to consumer mobile content companies. Creating and licensing digital content, video, games, apps across multiple verticals. Sold over $100 million into over 30 countries.Green Locker Storage where Iain is a Founder and investor. This year, Green Locker storage will open its first 20,000 square foot self-storage facility in Dublin.  Investing over €2 Million into the project. Green Locker self-storage will be the first fully automatic self-storage facility in Ireland.Over the next 5 years, Green Locker will open additional facilities in Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Belfast. Drive-In Movies where Iain is a Founder and Investor. Launched during the COVID pandemic, Drive In Movies is Ireland’s largest Drive in entertainment event.boxPAY where Iain is a Founder. boxPAY was launched in 2011 to build user friendly technology that allowed web merchants, game and app developers, social community providers and more the ability to charge consumers for virtual goods, digital content, and internet services through their mobile device. The company received funding from Enterprise Ireland (The Irish Government backed VC) and went on to secure deals with over 100 mobile phone operators around the world.boxPAY launched the world’s first Smart TV payment SDK allowing TV app developers to charge consumers via their mobile device. Moviestar.ie where Iain is Co-Founder. Moviestar.ie – Launched in 2006 and quickly became the number one online DVD rental website in Ireland. Customers paid a monthly flat-fee service for the rental of films and TV series on DVD.

The website won Best Website Launched in 2006 at the Eircom Golden Spider Awards. The business was sold to Screenclick.com (a part of Amazon) in 2009.

With all of this, Iain McConnon has won numerous Awards and Achievements including: Eircom Golden Spider Award for Best Website Launched in 2006 in Ireland, 2010 Business and Finance Magazine for 02 Young Leaders Award, Dublin Web Summit Spark of Genius Award, Irish Internet Association internet Start-Up of the Year 2012, Business Achiever Awards Innovation and Emerging Technology Award, and RTE Television, Ireland’s top 30 under 30.

The website won Best Website Launched in 2006 at the Eircom Golden Spider Awards. The business was sold to Screenclick.com (a part of Amazon) in 2009.

With all of this, Iain McConnon has won numerous Awards and Achievements including: Eircom Golden Spider Award for Best Website Launched in 2006 in Ireland, 2010 Business and Finance Magazine for 02 Young Leaders Award, Dublin Web Summit Spark of Genius Award, Irish Internet Association internet Start-Up of the Year 2012, Business Achiever Awards Innovation and Emerging Technology Award, and RTE Television, Ireland’s top 30 under 30.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

I think as you get a little older, you start to plan more for the future and not just live for today.  Now I have to think about pensions and things that when I was in my twenties or thirties never crossed my mind.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

I will go for a run, or even a walk when I feel unfocused.  It always clears the head.  Also, I love a good movie where you can lose your self for a few hours.  I am going to take back up tennis again, as I think sports or physical activity is so good for your mental health.  I used by to be a very good tennis player when in school and a top player in Ireland.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

Don’t be afraid to try and fail.  You cannot be successful until you fail, and you are not trying enough until you keep failing and going again.  

Our business, boxPAY, was a really great idea that we launched in 2012, allowing customers to pay for everyday items via their mobile phone, like newspapers parking, etc.  We put massive amount of work and our own capital (over €1 million) into it and worked with over 200 mobile operators all over the world.  It was a massive effort. But unfortunately, due to bad luck, timing, and operators not seeing the bigger picture, we eventually had to close it down.  It was such a shame, as the concept is still great.  But you learn, and go on and try again, something new.  Not everything is a hit.

What is one lifestyle trend that excites you?

A trend that excites me is how we can now combine new technology and health with the potential to provide a fast diagnosis, monitoring, and even virtual GP visits.  All this will help improve everyone’s health.  We currently look after our cars more than our bodies.  I think also easily available and affordable medical checks, like 10 minutes in shopping centres, almost like photo booths would be great. 

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

My family has been the biggest influence on me.  My Dad was an entrepreneur and risk taker, opening up a chain of coffee shops even before coffee shops were a thing.  He taught me many business lessons.  We work together today, along my bothers, in business together.  Family always has your back.

What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?

Don’t bet the house and don’t trust lawyers.  Never gamble everything.  You may need a plan B, and lawyers think they know more then they actually do

Also, if you think it’s a great idea, do it.  My brother, Gavin, and I about 15 years ago had an idea to create a mobile messenger service that instead of sending message via the mobile operators, sent them using mobile carrier data.  We mapped out the idea, looked at what was involved building it, and decided not to proceed.  Now, 15 years later, we all use WhatsApp, which is very similar to our idea. 

What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?

The successful person can see opportunities when no one else does, like running drive-in movies and events during the recent COVID crisis, and then being willing to take a risk on it. 

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by enjoying what I do and taking time to also enjoy hobbies.  I love traveling, and I try to travel whenever I can.  I love this travel to be to far away and unusual places, like Cambodia, or a train across Africa.  Don’t just visit London and eat in the Ivy.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

I want to leave behind fun memories and my antique collection. 

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