Monday 22 January 2018

Web Summit hires three top executives ahead of ambitious expansion plan

Participants in the last Dublin Web Summit in the RDS, which attracted over 10,000 people.
Participants in the last Dublin Web Summit in the RDS, which attracted over 10,000 people.
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

The company behind Dublin's Web Summit has hired senior Silicon Valley executives to help expand the firm's fledgling software arm.

Senior figures from Cisco and games company Zynga have joined Paddy Cosgrave's company, now called The Summit, to extend the firm's activities beyond hosting conferences.

Former chief operating officer at Zynga's game studio, Marcus Segal, will advise the company on operations under the title 'entrepreneur in residence'. Mr Segal was an early executive in Zynga, eventually guiding it to a public flotation on the Nasdaq Exchange.

The company has also added Cisco Capital's former head of strategy and business development, Shane Maguire, as its new chief financial officer, while former Hostelworld executive JD Fitzgerald has joined as the firm's new vice president for engineering.

The company's chief executive, Paddy Cosgrave, said that the three co-founders had turned down recent acquisition offers. He said that the company was "growing too quickly" to consider an early sale. He also said that the company was profitable and that its revenue was growing sharply.

The company is developing software to improve how conferences and events are run. "The Summit is not really just an events company any more," said Mr Cosgrave. "It's much more."

Mr Cosgrave said that the company's Collision conference in Las Vegas was sold out. He said that Dublin's Summit conference this autumn would be "Europe's biggest technology conference" with over 20,000 people in attendance.

"This company is growing at an alarming pace," said Mr Segal. "There's a huge opportunity for me here. The guys are working in Ireland, UK, Germany, US and many other countries."


The Summit was co-founded by Mr Cosgrave, Daire Hickey and David Kelly. It is privately owned by the three men, with Mr Cosgrave the majority shareholder.

While its last set of accounts showed a €450,000 profit, its current revenues are believed to be closer to €10m. The founders of the company are said to believe that the firm can become "a billion-dollar startup" within the next few years.

Mr Cosgrave has spoken before of his ambition to expand The Summit beyond technology conferences.

He is also believed to be driving the firm's new software focus, with Summit organisers having used its own coded software to co-ordinate last autumn's event, which attracted over 10,000 tech executives and media to Dublin.

"This is a very exciting time for us," said Mr Cosgrave. "I'm delighted that Marcus, JD and Shane are joining us and see the vision of what we're trying to create. They have a wealth of talent and experience."

Irish Independent

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