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Paddy Cosgrave’s Web Summit inks three-year deal with Rio de Janeiro

The company will host a new ‘Web Summit Rio’ conference from 2023 to 2025, with commercial terms of the deal undisclosed

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Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave

Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave

Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave

The Web Summit is to expand into the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, starting with a conference in 2023.

The event, Web Summit Rio, is the first of what Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave says will be more “regional Web Summits around the world” in the next three years, including conferences in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Mr Cosgrave said that the deal involves commercial terms between Brazilian civic authorities and his company, but declined to give details about the amount involved.

“We’re in Rio for the next three years with the option to extend,” he said. “It’s very similar to the framework we used when we first moved to Lisbon from Dublin.”

Under the agreement with Lisbon authorities, the Web Summit receives €11m per year to host the event there. The arrangement was recently extended to 2028.

The mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, has said he believes the deal could be worth R$1bn (€188m) to the Rio economy. He also said that the arrangement may extend beyond that three-year period.

“This could be an agreement for 10 or 20 years, we’re pretty optimistic about that,” said Mr Paes.

Mr Cosgrave said the Web Summit’s brand value was a driver for the deal.

“We hope that the short term direct economic impact from an event like Web Summit can bring a huge amount to the economy, like the long term branding value [it brought] to Portugal.”

Mr Cosgrave said that speakers and other details have yet to be announced.

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In Ireland, the Web Summit founder is currently embroiled in a number of legal disputes with co-founders Daire Hickey and David Kelly. Last week, an associate of Mr Hickey, Mark O’Toole, launched High Court defamation proceedings against Mr Cosgrave for remarks made about Mr O’Toole on Twitter.

The Web Summit employs over 200 people at its headquarters in Dublin.


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