Friday 15 December 2017

Web Summit adds jobs, mulls return

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave praised the role of the IDA in supporting the event since its foundation
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave praised the role of the IDA in supporting the event since its foundation
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave is considering a return to Dublin with a financial technology conference.

Mr Cosgrave, whose Dublin headquarters is to expand by another 40 jobs this year, said that the company's Moneyconf conference is likely to leave its Madrid base next year.

"We're now looking at other cities, including Edinburgh, Paris and Dublin," he told the Irish Independent.

Although the Moneyconf event is smaller than the Web Summit, holding it in Dublin would mark a new phase in the relationship between Mr Cosgrave and Irish authorities.

"We're back working with the Irish Government," he said. "The Web Summit's most important supporter from the start, by a wide margin, was the IDA. They're back as one of our partners. There's a lot of positivity and a lot of change. It's an interesting time for Ireland and not just because of Brexit."

The move comes as the Web Summit announced 40 new jobs for its Dublin office, including a new position for an Irish government affairs manager. This role, Mr Cosgrave said, will be "multi-faceted".

Two years ago, tempers flared between Web Summit founders and the government over the decision to relocate the global even to Lisbon. But with improved relations between Web Summit executives and Irish authorities, the company is once again eyeing Dublin as a potential conference venue.

"Cities in Europe, Asia and the US are actively pursuing us for larger conferences and also for smaller ones such as Moneyconf," he said. "My co-founder David [Kelly] dedicates a lot of time to travelling around the world."

Last year the Web Summit registered over 53,000 attendees to Lisbon. Mr Cosgrave said that was double the number that attended the previous Web Summit held in Dublin in 2015. He said that 60,000 attendees are expected to attend the event this year, including tech company CEOs, political leaders and personalities from sports, fashion and music.

Mr Cosgrave said that the 40 new jobs at the company's Dublin headquarters would take the organisation to over 180 people.

The new jobs are in sales, engineering and policy.

"We figured out how to get a tremendous amount of attendees and now we're getting good at attracting partners and exhibitors, like Mercedes," he said.

Mr Cosgrave said that he is also now looking to spin out more individual conferences from the Web Summit."Moneyconf came out of Web Summit and is now an invitation-only event for 1,000 stakeholders, including all the interesting startups, a lot of the bigger banks like Goldman Sachs and big payment players such as Alipay and Visa," he said.

The WebSummit was co-founded by Paddy Cosgrave, journalist Daire Hickey and accountant David Kelly.

Irish Independent

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