You could argue Norman Crowley is Ireland’s answer to Elon Musk. But electric cars are only part of Crowley’s focus. The bigger picture is saving the planet.
In this podcast, ThinkBusiness editor John Kennedy talks to Norman Crowley, a successful businessman who started and sold three businesses for more than $750m before he was 40. Last year he revealed plans to create 150 new jobs as part of a €50m investment in his latest venture Electrifi, the first company to manufacture cars in Ireland since Ford closed its manufacturing plant in Cork 40 years ago. The Cork-born entrepreneur sold his previous business Inspired Gaming Group for $500m in late 2008 to a private equity fund.
“Of the most existential crises in the world, one of the top three is climate change. And if we don’t do something about climate change it will kill billions of people ultimately”
Last year, ThinkBusiness reported how Crowley’s energy services business CoolPlanet Group raised $31m in funding from French investment group Tikehau Capital, which has almost €24bn in assets under management.
In an interview with ThinkBusiness last year Crowley described CoolPlanet Group as an energy efficiency business that helps corporates such as Musgraves, an early client, figure out how they can save hundreds of millions, if not billions, on their energy by optimising use of solar and wind sources and installing new technologies for better efficiency. “We have a vision for CoolPlanet to save $1bn a year in energy, which we are well on the way to,” he said at the time.
In this latest interview via podcast with ThinkBusiness, Crowley reflects on his first tech business Ebeon which he sold to Eir prior to the telco’s IPO in 1999 only to witness the business being wound down as the dot.com bubble burst in Ireland a few years later. He found himself being unfairly cast as a kind of scapegoat for tech’s collapse in 2001, even featuring on the Nine O’Clock News. “I used to joke with journalists that on my headstone it will be imprinted ‘It was profitable when I sold it.”
“In 2007 we almost sold the business for a billion bucks … selling for half a billion was okay by me”