1 April 2022
By Mary Bermingham
Dan & Linda recognised as Ireland’s top Digital Heroes at Spiders Awards in Dublin’s Mansion House
Cork was proudly represented at the Spiders Awards in Dublin, with Cork’s power couple, Dan and Linda Kiely, named Ireland’s Digital Heroes. The accolade was presented at the glitzy ceremony at The Round Room at Dublin’s Mansion House earlier this evening, in recognition of the couple’s outstanding commitment to digital innovation.
The glamourous husband and wife team have gone from strength-to-strength over the last number of years – from being broke and working in sales, to becoming multi-millionaire CEOs. The pair first started a company with six people, after remortgaging their home, working above a pub on Marlboro Street in Cork city. They grew the company from scratch to a global player, employing more than 6,000 team members across Europe, the US and Asia before being acquired.
Founded in 1995 by Dan and Linda Kiely, Voxpro was acquired by TELUS International (NYSE: TIXT) in 2019, with Dan continuing to be part of the global organisation at TELUS, as a Strategic Advisor. From humble beginnings, Vokpro provided customer experience, technical support, sales operations and digital solutions to global and disruptive technology brands, including companies like Google, Stripe, Coinbase, Snapchat, Facebook and Airbnb.
The sale of Voxpro in saw Dan and Linda’s already substantial personal fortune of €71 million skyrocket to €103 million, up 45%, but rather than retire early and enjoy their fortune, they decided to turn their attention to investing in young entrepreneurs in Cork with their new business The Republic of Work. The Kielys have made a number of investments in Irish and global tech start-ups and continue to be involved in the development of these companies, including Vudini, Johnson Hana and Talivest.
Upwards of 400 people gathered for the 25th annual Spiders Awards, hosted by Tracey Carney, and there were great celebrations to see the ceremony return to an in-person event for the first time since 2019. Dubbed ‘The Oscars’ of Ireland’s digital industry, the Spiders is the longest running digital awards programme in Ireland, dedicated to recognising companies and individuals driving digital excellence in every aspect of their work. The prestigious competition has had an incredible journey over the years and Ireland has proven to be a hub for digital innovation. The annual event sets out to recognise and further encourage creativity to flourish and grow.
Over the past couple of years, the Spiders – like many other events, globally – had to adapt to a changing society. The awards ceremony celebrated the achievements of individuals and businesses that not only adapted but excelled amidst a global pandemic. The judging panel evaluated nominations across 20 categories on the theme of ‘Driving Digital, Emerging Stronger’ and they had no easy task on their hands, due to the volume and talent of this year’s nominees.
Thrilled to be acknowledged at the Spiders, the Kielys picked up one of the most prestigious awards of the night for Digital Heroes. But, they weren’t the only big winners, with Part Three Digital Ltd from Belfast winning Small Agency of the Year. Spearheaded by Hannah Nelson and Jess Orr Downey, the company proved that digital businesses can not only survive but thrive in challenging times, with the digital marketing agency experiencing exponential growth over the last couple of years. Tribe Digital, meanwhile, picked up the award for Large Agency of the Year. In spite of the pandemic, the company has proven that building products and e-commerce experiences that drive results is exactly what Irish businesses needed over the last two years.
In addition to announcing the winners of the Spiders Awards, the event also served as a fundraiser, with the organisers partnering with UNICEF to support the work they are doing in Ukraine. There were generous donations by those in attendance, with guests acknowledging the struggles and hardship facing the people of Ukraine.
Accepting the award, Dan Kiely said:
“We are thrilled to receive the Digital Hero award. It’s an incredible honour for Linda and I to receive recognition for outstanding contribution. We have been relentless in what we do, and a big part of our success has been as a result of our agility and the mindset of a rapidly scaling company. We set out to redefine our industry and to work in partnership with innovative and disruptive companies globally striving for digital innovation. We absorbed a lot from customers like Google, Stripe and Airbnb.”
Linda Kiely was also delighted to receive the accolade and added:
“We hope that our story inspires others and highlights that Irish companies truly can have global ambitions, impact and determination in the midst of economic challenges to emerge stronger. Investing in people is absolutely paramount. I firmly believe that the success that we’ve had, and the reason we are here today, is down to our people.”
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Tracey Carney, Managing Director, Spiders Awards said:
“It is wonderful to be standing here before you all this evening, and returning to live events, after two years. It is even more special to be here in the Mansion House as we celebrate the Spiders’ 25th anniversary. Tonight we recognise excellence and the outstanding creativity of Ireland’s digital ecosystem. We applaud all of you who are the driving force behind it, and who have ensured we are emerging stronger than ever, from what has been the biggest digital transformation any of us have ever seen. The digital industry in Ireland has not only survived but thrived over the last two years. Tonight, we celebrate the best of the best in Ireland’s digital industry.”