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Panning for techie gold at Web Summit Klondike

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Eva Longoria at the Web Summit

Eva Longoria at the Web Summit

Crowds at the Web Summit at the RDS this week. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Crowds at the Web Summit at the RDS this week. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

WEB WIZARD: Event organiser Paddy Cosgrave at the Web Summit

WEB WIZARD: Event organiser Paddy Cosgrave at the Web Summit

Paddy Cosgrave speaking  to Denise Calnan at the Web Summit in The RDS

Paddy Cosgrave speaking to Denise Calnan at the Web Summit in The RDS

Bono at the Web Summit

Bono at the Web Summit

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Eva Longoria at the Web Summit

The slightly breathless phone call made in the RDS on Wednesday was loud enough for anyone within earshot to hear.

"John, Where are you? Well can you get down here right away? I think I've got the 100 grand."

Welcome to the Web Summit, the Klondike of new technology, the place where dreams are sometimes made, but more often shattered.

The moneymen who came looking for the next big thing amongst the techies and the coding nerds dressed in Vans high tops and Stussy T shirts.

It was hard not to be enervated and slightly exhausted by the sheer positivity, the evangelical zeal of those who have made it, the guys from Google, from Twitter, from Apple and Bitcoin.

For the High Kings of the Web whose race was already run and won, the summit was more like a lap of honour - a time to reflect on "where we are now".

And then there was the second tier of web success stories.

These were the guys who had one great idea, developed it, then built and sold it.

The company is now offloaded for mindboggling money. There's millions in the bank - not Bitcoin, but cold, hard cash that you can touch and feel and smell.

Proven web winners have cachet. Their views at the wi-fi challenged RDS on "what will happen next" were deemed so sacred they might have been handed to Moses on Mount Sinai carved on blue sapphire stone.

Away from the glamour of Eva Longoria, Lily Cole and Rio Ferdinand business was done.

The start-ups hall had the fever of the first frenetic night at the Galway races.

Each start-up was given a narrow "pitch" - for all the world like the ones the bookies have at the big race meetings.

They had practised their sales patter - usually a two-hander. They paid big money to be at the Web Summit and, as the phone call overheard in the Main Hall proved, some secured the seed capital to move to the next step.

For some, the Web Summit was the place where dreams briefly lived, then died.

Ideas that may have seemed so good in a small office outside Paris just didn't fly or attract the cash to make them a reality.

But in the bazaar of the Web Summit that's OK. These are people who live by the maxim, fail quick, fail better, move on.

Sunday Independent