Blacknight CEO Named on Irish Top 30 List for 30 Years of the Web

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Mr Michele Neylon, CEO of Blacknight, has been named among 30 Irish technology disruptors who have helped to build Ireland’s World Wide Web over the last 30 years.

It’s 30 years since the birth of the Web - or its conception at the very least. While the internet, domains, email and other aspects of internet technology had been established for years, the idea of a network of clickable documents, connected by hyperlinks, was first proposed in a memo by Tim Berners-Lee to colleagues at CERN, the European nuclear research organisation, in March 1989.

Michele Neylon discovered the web as a student in UL, but there was only limited access to web browsers for undergraduates, so he had to use an email-to-web gateway at first. It was enough to encourage his interest and, as a postgrad, he was asked to do web pages for the department, which led him to an interest in hosting.

The company I used was flaky so I got my own server, and then they morphed into many servers and I woke up one day as a hosting provider. Michele Neylon, CEO, Blacknight

Michele founded Blacknight with Paul Kelly in 2003 and they began operations in Carlow. The company has grown to employ almost 50 people, with its own data centre in Carlow and sites in Dublin as well. It’s now the leading Irish-owned web hosting company and the number one registrar of .IE domains.

30 years of World Wide Web (WWW) | Business & Finance

Business and Finance Magazine decided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Web last week at the annual Spiders awards. They compiled a list of Ireland’s Top 30 Tech Disruptors, or “30 Irish Trailblazers”. As well as Michele Neylon, the list includes Dr Dennis Jennings, who played a pioneering role in the development of the Internet and became the first Irish person to be inducted into the International Internet Hall of Fame. Colm Lyon, founder of Realex Payments and currently CEO of Fire Financial Services is also included, as are Patrick and John Collison, founders of Stripe and Ireland’s youngest billionaires.

Barry Flanagan and Colm Grealy are included for founding Ireland Online, which was later owned by BT. Many of Ireland’s first web users cut their teeth as IOL subscribers and, earlier this year, thousands of IOL and Esat email accounts found a new home, as Blacknight took over those legacy email services from BT.

Michele Neylon acknowledges the Web has been central to his career from the very start.

“Without the Internet, I have absolutely no idea where I’d be now'' he says, in a video interview produced by Business and Finance in association with IE Domain Registry.

The fact that you no longer need to be in a big city or in a big metropolitan area; as long as you have a decent internet connection, there’s nothing to stop you from setting up a business. If you look at how the internet has changed Ireland, it’s helped to remove us from isolation in many respects. Michele Neylon, CEO, Blacknight

The full list of 30 Irish Tech Disruptors will be published this week by Business and Finance Media.



Photo: Michele Neylon, CEO of Blacknight

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About Blacknight

Blacknight ( are an Irish based, ICANN accredited domain registrar and hosting company. Recipients of several awards for their revolutionary use of social media, Blacknight are one of Europe’s most cutting edge Internet companies. Blacknight constantly seek to lead the way by introducing innovative solutions for its client base and provide dedicated servers and co-location as well as a comprehensive range of Microsoft Windows and Linux based hosting services and domain name registration services to business globally. IP transit services and other solutions for more demanding business and academic customers are offered a la carte. Fibre broadband services for both business and domestic users are also available throughout most of Ireland.

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