FORMER CONNACHT RUGBY star Conor O’Loughlin has been declared Ireland’s best young entrepreneur for the gym software firm he set up after his sporting career was cut short.
The 35-year-old launched the company with co-founders Anthony Kelly and Finn Hegarty in 2013 after retiring from rugby two years earlier due to a hip injury.
Glofox was today announced as the overall winner in the state-backed Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition after taking out the established business category.
The Sandyford-based company raised €2 million last year from several investors, including Dublin firm Tribal VC, as well as Enterprise Ireland.
The business has targeted ’boutique’ class-focused smaller gym and fitness studios with its management software, which handles bookings and payments among other tasks for the businesses.
The company now has more than 1,000 customers in 23 countries, with more than two-thirds of its clients based in the US.
Glofox CEO O’Loughlin, who won €40,000 for his category and overall wins, said the business, which has 40 staff on its books, planned to continue its push in America before targeting the Asian fitness market.
Alan Hickey won the best startup business category for his Dublin firm WeBringg, which provides 90-minute deliveries for online retailers and restaurants to enable them to compete with the likes of Amazon.
Earlier this year, the company revealed it had raised €650,000 from private investors to speed up its push into the UK.
Brendan Boland from Galway-based Loci Orthopaedics won the best business idea category for his company, which has developed an implant to treat thumb base joint arthritis.
The annual IBYE programme, now in its fourth year, is run by the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country.
Note: This article has been updated to include Finn Hegarty as one of the company’s co-founders.