Sunday 24 March 2019

Cosgrave cancels June MoneyConf event in Dublin

Refunds and compensation may be offered as conference folded into bigger Lisbon Web Summit

Moving on: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Paddy Cosgrave, CEO, Web Summit, during day two of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena last year. Photo: Sportsfile
Moving on: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Paddy Cosgrave, CEO, Web Summit, during day two of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena last year. Photo: Sportsfile

Adrian Weckler Technology Editor

Paddy Cosgrave's Web Summit is to move MoneyConf, the 5,000-strong financial technology conference scheduled for Dublin this June, to Lisbon.

Instead of a standalone event in June, it will now be part of the Web Summit in Lisbon in November, said Mr Cosgrave.

It is understood that the decision was taken in recent weeks. Companies that had already made plans for the cancelled two-day June conference at the RDS will now be "accommodated" through refunds and possibly travel and accommodation compensation.

The move is happening, Mr Cosgrave said, to integrate MoneyConf as a fintech segment within the company's three global conferences, Web Summit, Collision (in Toronto) and Rise (Hong Kong).

"We feel strongly that a conference with as much potential as MoneyConf is deserving of a more prominent position on a more global stage," he said.

The move is a reversal on previous comments made by Mr Cosgrave at last June's Dublin event, when he said that MoneyConf would remain in Ireland "for the foreseeable future".

And it is likely to disrupt the plans of several companies which had arranged to attend or host events around Moneyconf, scheduled for the RDS from June 10 to 12. In its short history, Moneyconf has had a number of different host cities, including Belfast, Madrid and Dublin.

Mr Cosgrave said that the Web Summit will remain headquartered in Dublin with 200 people.

"We've built the best tech conference in the world in Lisbon and now have the certainty that comes with a 10-year deal and an incredible venue," said Mr Cosgrave. "However Dublin will always be at the centre of everything we do."

Last year, the Web Summit struck a €110m deal with Lisbon authorities to keep the 70,000-strong conference in the Portuguese capital for 10 years.

Speaking at last June's Dublin MoneyConf event, Mr Cosgrave said Dublin lacked the infrastructure for large global conferences.

"Ireland has an opportunity to become a venue for much larger events," he said.

"To do that we need a convention centre that's much bigger. It wouldn't take much to build a venue that would cater to 40,000 or 50,000 people in this city."

Relations between the Web Summit and Irish authorities had been improving after a public row over the Web Summit's move to Lisbon in 2015.

MoneyConf attracted over 5,000 registered attendees, mainly from financial firms and technology companies focused on payments, fraud and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Irish Independent

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