Tuesday 16 October 2018

Web Summit profits soar by almost €2m after move from Ireland to Portugal

Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder of the Web Summit. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder of the Web Summit. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

The Web Summit has seen a rise in its profits with its move to Lisbon apparently paying off.

The company, which is mostly owned by co-founder Paddy Cosgrave, posted a €2.1m profit for 2016, up on the profit of €128,000 it recorded in 2015.

While a revenue figure isn’t divulged, the company’s gross profit rose from €6.9m in 2015 to €11.5m in 2016.

2016 was the year that Cosgrave controversially moved the Web Summit from Dublin to Lisbon. The event almost doubled in size that year, going from 30,000 registered attendees to 50,000 attendees, partly due to the bigger venue. It also attracted bigger sponsors and commercial partners, including car companies and financial firms.

The Web Summit also received €1.3m from the Portuguese government as an incentive to relocate there.

In a recent podcast interview (see The Big Tech Show on Independent.ie/podcasts) with the Irish Independent, Paddy Cosgrave said that the Web Summit is expecting more than 60,000 attendees at the 2018 event.

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave

He also said that the company’s other global events, including ‘Collision’ in the US and ‘Rise’ in Hong Kong, are continuing to grow at a similar pace to the Web Summit.

Moneyconf, a Web Summit owned financial technology conference that attracted 1,500 people in Madrid in 2017, is expected to attract 5,000 registered attendees when it relocates to Dublin’s RDS this in June of this year.

The Web Summit now employs over 180 people and is currently trying to hire another 50 people. Most of the staff are located at its Dublin headquarters, from where the global conferences are run.

The Web Summit signed a three year deal with authorities in Lisbon to host the conference there, concluding in 2018.

The company has not yet indicated whether it is due to extend that deal into 2019 and beyond, although Cosgrave told the Big Tech Show podcast that he was “hopeful” the event would remain in Lisbon for the time being.

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