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Meet our founder and CEO, Colm Lyon

Colm Lyon, founder and CEO or Fire, is one of Europe’s leading payments and fintech entrepreneurs.


Colm Lyon is CEO and founder of Fire – a payments services business. With a career spanning more than 35 years, Colm has built payment businesses, led change across the industry and supported the wider business community.

Colm Lyon presenting at DCU

Realex Payments - Founder and former CEO

Colm was the founder and CEO of Realex Payments, one of Europe’s largest and most successful online payments businesses, which was acquired by Global Payments in March 2015.

Fire - Founder and CEO

Regulated since 2010, Fire provides businesses with access to a range of payment services, including accounts, bank transfers, debit cards, FX, and open banking payments.

Colm founded Fire when it was part of a larger business, Realex Payments (a business started by Colm in 2000). Fire works with high tech-focused startups, scaleups, corporate businesses, and some of Europe’s largest financial institutions, enabling them to pay out and go digital with their payment processes.

As CEO, Colm leads the strategy, setting out the mission, vision and values for the business as well as ensuring a keen focus on the customer market, product and proposition.

The business is now processing billions in payments per annum for thousands of clients, including some of the world’s largest financial institutions.

Colm Lyon, CEO and Founder of Fire. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography

Industry positions

Colm, as a seasoned expert, has been a driving force in shaping the landscape of fintech in Ireland and the UK. He is a member of the UK Finance Payments Products and Services Board, Chair of the Digital PSP Group, a member of the Strategic Participant Group for the New Payments Architecture with Pay.UK and was a member of the JROC Open Banking Future Entity Working Group in the UK. Over the years he held several industry leadership positions, including chairman of the Irish Internet Association, founder of Payments Ireland and co-founder & chairman of the Fintech and Payments Association of Ireland.

Colm Lyon holding a speech after receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award at the National Fintech Awards


Colm’s visionary approach and commitment to innovation have not only propelled his own businesses but have also played a crucial role in the broader fintech ecosystem in Ireland and abroad. Over the years he has been the recipient of numerous awards – including Tatler Man of the Year (2015), Industry Achievement of the Year at the Card and Payments Awards (London, 2016), Overall Net Visionary Award (Dublin 2015) and more recently the Outstanding Achievement Award at the National Fintech Awards in 2023 to “recognise and celebrate his exceptional contributions and innovations to building a better financial system in Ireland”.

Colm Lyon, celebrated after receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award

Early stage investor

Colm has invested in numerous Irish and UK startups and venture funds. He was an adjunct professor for University College Cork and remains a member of the International Advisory Board of the Innovation Academy in University College Dublin.