Only The Brave Have FunThe Root Of All Business Podcast

EP13 Michael Tobin

Michael is a highly successful serial technology entrepreneur & pioneer with over 30 years’ experience in the telecoms & technology sector.

As Chief Executive, Michael Tobin OBE led TelecityGroup plc, a leading FTSE250 Technology company from 2002 to 2014, transforming the company from £6m market cap in 2002 to being a top performer in the FTSE250 worth over £2.5Bn, being recognized as Britain’s Most admired Tech Company in 2012.

Other awards include the London Business Awards “Business Turnaround of the Year” award in 2005, UK Innovation Awards IPO of the year 2008 & the techMARK Personality of the year in the same year.

As a Non Exec Director, Tobin was instrumental in transforming PACNET in Hong Kong from a Sub Sea Cable operator to a successful Datacenter operator culminating in its sale in 2015 to Telstra for $800m. In 2017 he was the key driver of the sale of Itconic in Spain to Equinix generating over 8x money for Carlyle in just 22 months, and as a NED oversaw the sale of Datapipe in New York to Rackspace and Basefarm in Norway to Orange on behalf of Abry Partners. In 2019 his partnership with Permira culminated in the 6x return sale of Teraco in South Africa.

Tobin is currently on the boards of Park Place Technologies in the USA , Eurodiesel in Belgium, Chayora in Hong Kong, IXCellerate in Moscow & Instrumental Ltd and HPF Group in London & is the Chair of AIM listed Audioboom and BigBlu Broadband plc, and also Pulsant and Ultrahaptics in the UK.

Michael’s was named ‘UK IT Services Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Ernst & Young in 2009, 2010 & 2011; PWC Tech CEO of the Year 2007; London Chamber of Commerce ‘Business Person of the Year’ for 2009 & 2010; In 2007 & 2009 he was the winner of the DCE Outstanding Leader of the Year, & in 2008 won ‘Data Centre Business Person of the Year’ at the Data Centre Leaders awards. He was awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Data Centre Industry’ at the Data Centre Europe awards & in 2011 received a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the industry.

In 2005 he was named number 31 of Britain’s Top 50 Entrepreneurs & in 2014 he was honoured in the Queens New Years Honours List with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal for Services to the Digital Economy.

In 2016 he  received business awards for Outstanding Non Executive Director of the year in the Best Business Awards 2016 and  the Global Business Excellence Awards 2016, and Chairman of the Year at the Stevie Awards in the USA. In 2017 he was recognized as Datacentre and Cloud Influencer of the Decade in Monaco at the Broadgroup Industry Awards and named in Smith and Williamson’s Top 25 Power Individuals of Industry.

Key highlights and tips in the interview:

On starting your business

I would suggest that anybody starting a business starts with finding out What you didn’t enjoy in your day yesterday? What problem would you solve that you have had? And if you can fix that, then the chances are, there’s millions of other people that didn’t enjoy the same thing. So if you can fix that type of dynamic, then you’ve got a business.

On going the extra mile

There was an old man sitting next to me who I’m sure couldn’t even read the letter that I was reading, but he could see the smile on my face. And he put his hand on my shoulder. And he said, son always go the extra mile, because there’s less traffic there.

Where to find Michael:


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