Starting his first company as a teenager, Byrne Murphy was involved with painting houses, delivering boats, and rebuilding jetties, every summer. These projects required no small amount of perseverance, diligence, and drive, and were the first signs of a career that would be defined by entrepreneurship. It was this spirit that led him, over the past 30 years, to spearhead a number of ventures across different verticals.
The Start of Something Big
Initially focussed on international property development, Byrne’s first step into the European market began with a successful range of outlet centres and private resident clubs. It was while working on these projects that his career was forever changed by the arrival of the internet.
“I realized I had outlets and inventory across Europe and – by utilizing the internet – I could sell the inventory online. Fast distribution, competitive cost, and speed, all of which defined the rapid rise of e-commerce, appealed to me immediately. It didn’t take me long after that to realise that the physical infrastructure that underpinned the digital revolution was an incredibly important growth market. Hence, I started a data centre business.”
January 2001 saw Byrne start his own data centre service provider, DigiPlex — a small company with big ambitions of redefining innovation in data centres across the world. Today data centres operate at the heart of nearly all streaming, cloud-based or network-based services. With the world moving quickly towards wider distribution of Internet of Things, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence, the demand for fast, secure, and powerful data centres will grow exponentially each year.
Maintaining an Industry-wide Reputation
Today, DigiPlex is one of the most cost-effective, secure, and sustainable data centres in the world, taking full advantage of attractively low Nordic energy prices and clean renewable power to build a compelling offer. Throughout its 17-year lifetime, the business has constantly worked to improve itself, winning multiple industry awards for innovation, growth and environmental standards all while making strides in security, stability and best-in-class efficiency, including state of the art Air to Air cooling.
Turning Challenges into Stepping Stones
The Nordics immediately appealed to Byrne as a place to start and grow a global data centre business, as it offered some of the lowest costs for clean power in a climate with a low year-round temperature, ideal for the best kinds of efficient cooling. But a long career in international markets has left Byrne no stranger to barriers and setbacks, however.
“The hurdles you face as an entrepreneur all vary based on where you are in your lifecycle. In the infancy phase, the biggest risk lies in a good introduction of the concept. You need to figure out who will put capital in, and what you need to give up to secure it.”
“When you’ve proven the concept, your next challenge becomes growth. You need even more capital, but also a great team who can deploy the idea, challenging structural norms with something the market hasn’t really seen before.”
“Finally, if your idea works, and you start to realise growth, other people see it as well. From nowhere, you’re suddenly facing a tide of competition, and imitators.”
Key Qualities that Separates an Entrepreneur
“This is a very American word, but: ’Grit.’ It means never, ever, ever giving up. If you don’t fully commit and persevere it’s easy to fall behind. In fact, a version of this mentality has become a core value for DigiPlex: Entrepreneurs must never, ever, ever give up, and DigiPlex never, ever, ever goes down!”
It’s not hard to see how this mindset has helped DigiPlex secure its position as one of the most ambitious, inventive, and market-defining companies in its field.
In 2016, Byrne was awarded the Data Industry Achievement Award in recognition for outstanding individual contribution to the data centre industry. In addition to his entrepreneurial career, Byrne is also the author of the book Le Deal, which was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2008, and subsequently won the “Winner Axiom Award for Best Memoir 2008.”
A Brighter Future Ahead
While the company has made incredible strides in the past 17 years, Byrne clearly sees an even brighter future ahead for DigiPlex.
“I think in 5 years DigiPlex will double in size – and by that I mean in our EBITDA, not necessarily doubling staff. I think we can become increasingly differentiated by becoming even more vocal, highlighting how our model emphasises the importance of clean, sustainable data centres in an increasingly digitized world.”
“Today, data centres are responsible for about 2 per cent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions and 3 per cent of the world’s power usage. Given that data centers are the heart of the digitization, this is just a sliver of the impact our industry may come to have on our planet in the years to come. Businesses, and the data centers that support them, will both need to take greater responsibility for their environmental footprint. With our commitment to 100% renewable energy and constant drive to innovate to reduce power costs we aim to show the way for meaningful change in our industry. We want to be the company where people want to work, not just because we come up with great ideas, but because we make the world a better, more sustainable place.”
Do Not Wait!
Byrne’s final last piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs is to not wait. “If you really, really, have the urge to be an entrepreneur, take the leap now. You won’t regret having tried, even if you fail. But, you may bitterly regret it if you never do.”