Founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital
Over the past 30 years, founder and chairman of Granahan McCourt Capital, David C. McCourt, has been widely known as a transformational force in the technology, media and telecom industries. He has founded or bought 20 companies in nine countries, receiving prestigious awards and accolades along the way.
The Economist described him as having "impeccable credentials as a telecom revolutionary."
Paul Haran, Chairman of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
Raised in Watertown, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, McCourt graduated from Georgetown University in 1979. He ventured into the telecoms industry in 1982, creating his first company, McCourt Cable Systems, which quickly became the largest privately-owned designer and builder of cable systems in the United States. With McCourt at its helm, the company deployed breakthrough methods of laying cable systems, which would later be adopted as industry standards.
Starting to build a reputation He would soon turns his sights to the Caribbean nation of Grenada, where he founded Discovery TV, partnering with the Grenadian government to form a highly-successful television station that would later be sold to the Grenadian government. Delivering content to underserved areas of the world would later become a recurring theme in McCourt's career.
By the late 1980s, McCourt had gained a reputation as a telecoms visionary with the creation of Corporate Communications Network, the first competitive telephone company in the United States. The company would later be merged with MFS Communications and sold to WorldCom for $14.3 billion.
Witnessing the surge of new network construction in the United States over the past decade, McCourt's next venture would see him partner with world-renowned engineering and construction firm Peter Kiewit Sons, Inc. From this partnership emerged McCourt/Kiewit International, based in London, which quickly became the largest designer and builder of residential cable television and telephone networks in Europe.
By the mid-1990s, McCourt found himself sitting as Chairman and CEO of C-TEC, a diversified telecommunications company based in Pennsylvania, and in the process became one of the youngest CEO's of a publically traded company aged just 35. After recapitalising the company, which included the monetization of several non-strategic subsidiaries, McCourt engineered a tax-free split of the company, which saw it divided into four publically traded entities: RCN Corporation; Cable Michigan, Inc.; Mercom, Inc.; and Commonwealth Telephone Enterprises, Inc. Combined, the annualized returns of these companies would reach three times the returns of the S&P 500 over the same time period.
Long after selling Discovery TV, McCourt would return to film and television production. During the 1990s and 2000s, he served as executive producer for several highly-successful series. His ten-part documentary series What's Going On?, saw McCourt recognised for his citizen diplomacy, working in partnership with the United Nations to examine the global impact of conflict on children around the world. The series attracted the support and participation of some of Hollywood's top talent, including Michael Douglas, Angelina Jolie and Meg Ryan. McCourt also worked as executive producer on Spike Lee's Miracle Boys, a six-part mini-series on Nickelodeon, as well as the long-running PBS Kids educational series Reading Rainbow, which would earn McCourt a Daytime Emmy in 2005.
In 2013, with a growing portfolio of European investments, Irish American McCourt returned to Ireland acquiring enet, the operator of the State owned Metropolitan Area Network. In 2014, an acquisition of AirSpeed Telecom, the leading provider of integrated licenced wireless and fibre services to business in Ireland, set out a new strategic play for Granahan McCourt, and a year later the businesses were integrated to form a single national platform capable of delivering Gigabit connectivity. In the three years that followed, McCourt invested over $100million in the networks strengthening the company's reputation as a leading wholesale open access provider selling to over 70 retail service providers.
In 2016, Granahan McCourt led a consortium bid for Ireland's National Broadband Plan, recognized as the most ambitious and complex telecoms project in Europe. In 2018, having progressed through early qualification rounds, Granahan McCourt successfully sold its stake in enet to the Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF), a fund managed by AMP Capital and Irish Life Investment Managers, in order to focus on the company's involvement in the €3 billion National Broadband Plan (NBP).
In late 2019, Granahan McCourt became the successful bidder in the NBP, winning the largest Public Private Partnership in European telecoms. Forming National Broadband Ireland with McCourt serving as Chairman, the company is tasked with rolling out a future-proofed high—speed broadband network to approximately 600,000 premises spanning every county in Ireland.
In 2021, Granahan McCourt successfully sold its stake in sports media business Dugout. As the largest individual shareholder in Dugout prior to OneFootball's acquisition, Granahan McCourt joined Dugout's founding partners including European football clubs AC Milan, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid CF and more. For the first time, the world’s biggest clubs collaborated with the support of Dugout's founders and investors including Granahan McCourt to create a business that would pioneer a new, digital-first approach to personalized soccer content.
Today, Granahan McCourt has a number of other investments including an insurtech startup, and continues to produce pioneering media content through its subsidiary McCourt Entertainment.