Sonru director, Fergal O’Byrne, makes Hall of Fame

Former CEO and current non executive director of Sonru, Fergal O’Byrne was inducted into the Irish Internet Association’s inaugural Hall of Fame at the annual IIA Dot ie Net Visionary Awards held in the Concert Hall of the RDS in Dublin.

The awards now in their 17th year took place in the RDS’s main Concert Hall with over 300 attendees comprised of a wide variety or sectors from technology to Agriculture.

Inaugural IIA Hall of Fame

At the awards ceremony, the IIA also launched its Hall of Fame to recognise the top 10 Irish Tech Entrepreneurs Visionaries whose contribution to the Irish technology community over the last two decades enabled Ireland to establish its global reputation. Every year, new names will be inducted into the Hall of Fame that the judging panel believes reflects the vision and contribution ethos of these first 10 Net Visionaries.

In response to his induction, Fergal, said: “I’m both honoured and delighted to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and also proud to see the IIA continue to grow from strength to strength. Over the years, I have given out many awards and accolades but one thing all recipients will agree is that the kudos and recognition is great but the work still has to be done so thank you all so much while I continue to work with Sonru to make it the world’s leading video interviewing platform.”

Commenting on Fergal’s accolade, Ed Hendrick, CEO of Sonru added: “It’s great to see Fergal being recognised officially for his contribution to the Internet / technology industry in Ireland. He has been involved with Internet companies in this country since the first days of the world wide web and if you were to look at the many Irish success stories, you wouldn’t have to dig deep to find his footprints. His vast experience and reputation in Ireland make an enormous impact in Sonru’s formative years and for that we are also thankful.”

The First Ten Inductees To The IIA Hall Of Fame 

Fergal O’Byrne – former IIA CEO –Fergal transformed a voluntary organisation into a viable, sustainable trade association, grew the membership and created a platform for the industry to have a voice.  He was an early investor in Sonru and subsequent CEO.  He serves on the board of the IEDR as well as having served on IGOpeope, WINC, and CCD.    

Colm Lyon – founder of Realex Payments – founder of Fire Financial Services. Winner of IIA Overall Net Visionary 2015.  Colm is a role model entrepreneur for non-venture backed scaled international businesses, a voice for the industry and outstanding chair of the IIA for many years.

Ray Nolan – Entrepreneur, Investor, winner of Overall Net Visionary award 2006 with HostelWorld. Following the sale of HostelWorld, Ray has invested in many other Irish tech start-ups including most recently of note, Storyful, as well as continuing to build web-based brands, launching XSellco and Ultimate Rugby.

Pat Phelan – Entrepreneur, winner of Overall Net Visionary in 2008 with Maxroam and ‘One to Watch’ start-up category winner with Trustev in 2013. Pat is a serial entrepreneur and mentor to many, international tech companies.  He is a well-known advocate for technology start-ups and a mentor for many national and international start-up programmes.

Jerry Kennelly – Entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Tweak, revolutionising access to high quality design for SMBs.  Winner of Overall Net Visionary Award in 2011, Jerry was previously founder of Stockbyte which he sold to Getty Images.  He is also founder of Junior Entrepreneur Programme and Young Entrepreneur Programme for primary and secondary schoolkids, with over 20,000 combined alumni.

Eamon Leonard – founder, angel investor and community organiser.  Winner of the Overall Net Visionary Award in 2012, founder of Orchestra which he subsequently sold to EngineYard.  Although now working on his new start-up, Cohort, Eamon continues to support the sector as a community organiser and voice for the industry.

Michele Neylon – founder of  Blacknight, Ireland’s largest domain registrar and hosting provider.  Winner of the 2013 Overall Net Visionary Award for his outstanding contribution to the industry in Ireland but also his international presence as the Chair of the ICANN Registrar Stakeholder Group and the Eurid Registrar Advisor Board.

Ann O’Dea and Darren McAuliffe – Founders of Silicon Republic – reporting on technology in Ireland since the start and amongst the greatest champions of Irish Tech success.  Founders of InspireFest that attracted 1300 delegates in June 2015, a conference boasting 75% remarkable woman speakers, turning the tables on international tech events.

Brian Caulfield – Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist Partner at Draper Esprit – a key spokesman for the industry with government on key entrepreneur/investment related issues.  He is the founder of a number of successful technology businesses, Exceptis Technologies and Similarity Systems.  He sits on a number of boards (Movidius, DataHug) and is currently the Chariman of the Irish Venture Capital Association.

More about the IIA, the awards and the Hall of Fame is available here.

Joy Redmond
Edward Hendrick
Ed holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agribusiness & Rural Development and a Higher Diploma in Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurship.

Since founding Sonru in 2007 with the vision of introducing Video Interviewing to mainstream recruitment, Ed has established the organisation as a global leader and one of the top recruitment SaaS companies worldwide.

With numerous accolades to his name such as the Sunday Business Posts ‘Top 40 Under 40’ and IIA Net Visionary award for innovation, Ed is recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in video recruitment technology and is a renowned industry speaker.

With a passion for new technology and how it can be used to make life easier for people in the real world, Ed has been instrumental in shaping the current landscape of the Video Interviewing industry.
Chris Horan
CTO at Sonru
Chris graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics and Computer Science and went on to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science in Physics and Computer Science as well as a Higher Diploma in Enterprise Development.

With almost 20 years’ experience in the software engineering and computer science space, Chris has worked with leading technology companies such as Accuris, CAPE Technologies and BearingPoint.

Chris has been at the forefront of Sonru’s product development since the company’s inception in 2007.
Daniel Richard
Managing Director EMEA
Sonru’s Europe MD, Daniel Richard, graduated from Queen’s University, Canada with a Master of Science in Industrial and Organisational Science.

A trained Occupational Psychologist with more than 15 years of sales and consulting experience in multinational recruitment and HR services companies, Daniel leads Sonru’s sales efforts within EMEA, helping to grow its rapidly expanding customer base.

Prior to joining Sonru, Daniel spent 10 years at Oracle Taleo helping to build the company from a small regional start-up to a true industry leader. Daniel has held a variety of sales and consulting positions on various continents, including the US and Europe.
Fergal O'Byrne
Non-Executive Director
Fergal holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering from Dublin Institute of Technology and is an experienced Internet industry entrepreneur.

Since founding Interactive Return in 1998, Fergal has been a member of the Board of Directors of, WINC, and CCD Limited and was a previous chair of the Project Advisory Group for Fáilte Ireland’s eBusiness Support Initiative.

A recognised influencer within the industry, Fergal has served as CEO of the Irish Internet Association and has published four books including ‘10 Online Marketing and Search Engine Essentials’ and ‘10 Technologies Every Executive Should Know’.

In 2015, Fergal was inducted into the IIA Internet Hall of Fame in recognition for services to the internet industry.
George Pennock
George holds an MA in History from Oxford University and is a previous Partner and Head of Saphir UK at Saphir Capital Partners.

George spent several years with the Goldman Sachs Group as a mergers and acquisitions banker before moving into private equity where he has spent most of the past 15 years. He has served as a Senior Investment Manager and COO at Pi Capital, and worked with Botts & Company Ltd where he made private equity investments in the leisure, publishing, branded goods, retail, and technology sectors.

Having spent the past two decades working with a myriad of talented and unconventional entrepreneurs, investing in everything from online employee benefits platforms to river boats and book publishers, George is passionate about backing exceptional people and interesting businesses and believes that while a mediocre management team can ruin even a great plan, a great management team can make a success of almost any business opportunity.
John Penning
Currently, I am a Director of Sonru, the leading Online Video Interviewing company. Previous career highlights include; CEO of the Irish Internet Association, Chairman of and Founder and CEO of Interactive Return. In 2015 I was very honoured to be inducted into the IIA Internet Hall of Fame in recognition for services to the internet industry.
Rodolphe Verhaegen
Non-Executive Director
Rodolphe is currently an Operational Advisor with Digital Ventures in Brussels having previously worked in Ebay, most recently as Director of Customer Innovation.

Rodolphe is an innovative and creative business leader, with a strong interest in technology and agile software development practices. He holds an Masters Degree in Business Information Management and a BA in Business Economics from the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels.
Georges Schmit
Non-Executive Director
A native of Luxembourg, Georges graduated with degrees in Economics from the University of Louvain, Belgium (BA) and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MA). Besides his native Luxembourgish, Georges is fluent in French, English and German.

Georges served the Government of Luxembourg from 1981 to 2016 and throughout most of his career he focused on innovation and technology policy, economic development and trade and investment promotion.

During his time with the Government of Luxembourg, Georges served as Secretary General of the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy and was a member of several European Union high-level advisory bodies including the European Commission's "Enterprise Policy Group”. He also served as both Vice-Chairman and Executive Chairman of the National Credit and Investment Corporation (SNCI) of Luxembourg.

Georges has served on the Board of Directors of both listed and private companies including the world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal, the Luxembourg-based global satellite operator SES, the Luxembourg Post and Telecommunications Company, and the Luxembourg State and Savings Bank, among others. Most recently, he contributed to the design and launch of several major Luxembourg Government innovation policy initiatives and sits on the Luxembourg Government’s Advisory Board on Space Resources.
Daria Polunina
Non-Executive Director
A director at Saphir Capital Partners, Daria holds a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management from the University of Essex as well as a MSc in Finance from Cass Business School. Daria also sits on the board of Molinare and Wine Source Group.

Patrick Sweeney
Non-Executive Director
Patrick holds a Bachelor of Business Studies Degree in Accounting, Management, Human Resources, Marketing and Economics from University of Limerick as well as Masters of Education in Management, Human Resources and Training and Development from University of Sheffield.

For 25 years, Patrick held the position of Human Resources and Public Affairs Director for Aughinish Alumina where he was involved in change management, restructuring and international mergers and acquisitions.

Patrick also undertook many other leadership roles including operations management, training and development and employee relations management. In addition to sitting on the Board of Directors at Sonru since 2011, Patrick has operated his own strategic management and human resources consultancy firm for the past 8 years.