Sunday 17 December 2017

27,000 signed up for Lisbon Web Summit with six months to go

Paddy Cosgrave faced criticism for moving the Web Summit to Portugal Photo: Steve Humphreys
Paddy Cosgrave faced criticism for moving the Web Summit to Portugal Photo: Steve Humphreys
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Web Summit has attracted around 20 times as many attendees for its flagship event compared to the same time last year.

The Irish-owned technology conference moved from Dublin to Lisbon, Portugal this year.

Chief executive Paddy Cosgrave was critical of the support offered by the Irish government on issues such as traffic control.

About 27,000 people from 149 countries have signed up for the 2016 Web Summit so far, compared to 1,317 from 19 countries signed up at the same point for the 2015 event.

Attendees will include Albert Wenger (managing partner of Union Square Ventures, an early investor in Twitter and Tumblr) and Cisco executive chairman John Chambers.

The event began in 2010 with 400 people. "When we started out Web Summit with 400 attendees five and half years ago, we never for one moment believed we would be where we are today" said Cosgrave. It has now hit an "inflexion point", he said.

Head of strategic communications Mike Harvey added that the conference is now considered one of the world's must-attend technology events.

Coverage of its controversial move to Lisbon has added momentum, Harvey said.

This year's speakers will include many big names from outside technology, he added. "We are still in planning, with six months to go, but it will certainly be much more diverse this year - partly because tech is starting to be incorporated into so many other fields."

Mayors from "innovative cities" around the world are also being invited for the event's first city-focused section.

Despite the scale of demand with six months to go, Web Summit is still targeting relatively modest overall growth in attendee numbers - 50,000 people, up from 42,000 the year before.

"We are being conservative in our estimates but if demand continues at this pace we have the capacity for more" Harvey said.

"The new venue is excellent."

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