Irish web pioneer scoops top innovation prize

The prestigious annual contest run by BusinessWeek magazine to find the best young entrepreneurs in Europe has just closed and the winner is a 24-year old web pioneer on our own doorstep .

Aodhan Cullen, founder of Dublin-based web-metrics service StatCounter , took first prize in the competition for entrepreneurs aged 25 and under. He started his firm in 1999 when aged just 16.

Billions of pageviews

StatCounter offers a free website-tracking and analysis service to over 1.5 million users - a number that is growing by 1,500 a day. Those users track visitors to 2.2 million different websites, covering over 9 billion pageviews a month. Cullen's revenues come mostly from advertising on the site, but also from charging a small monthly fee to the highest-volume users.

From humble beginnings typing CVs for clients when he was 12, Cullen now owns one of the few websites in the world to have a Google PageRank of 10, denoting that it's about as influential as a site can get.

Bigger than Dell

Ranking engine Alexa also rates StatCounter highly - it places the Irish organisation as the 34th most-visited site in the US and as being more influential than Dell and Adobe.

Although Cullen was a clear winner in the BusinessWeek poll, we'll be sure to keep an eye on the 18 other entrepreneurs who were in the running for some more flashes of genius.