Monday 21 October 2019

Web Summit's tech a bigger opportunity than its events - Cosgrave

Web Summit’s Paddy Cosgrave
Web Summit’s Paddy Cosgrave

Donal O'Donovan and Adrian Weckler

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave has said the technology side of his events business will outstrip its high profile conferences - and the entire firm may be valued at €1bn.

In a wide-ranging letter accompanying its financial accounts, Mr Cosgrave floated the idea that the Web Summit may be an "Irish unicorn" - the term for a private company valued at more than $1bn.

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"Is Web Summit worth more than a billion? Is Web Summit an Irish tech unicorn?" the letter asks.

But it goes on to say that valuation doesn't matter, and the software it creates to run and manage its own conferences could become a product for the wider $2.5 trillion-a- year global event management industry.

"Of course we're excited to have built 'the world's largest tech conference' of the 21st century in the form of Web Summit," he wrote.

"But the bigger opportunity, in our view, is opening the software layer that we've built to everyone else," he added.

"We now want to put our software into the hands of millions of attendees at events the world over. That's the journey we are on."

Accounts filed yesterday show profits at the Web Summit rose to €16m in 2017 on revenues of almost €29m.

The after-tax profit was €3.1m at Manders Terrace, the firm that incorporates Web Summit, Collision and other event brands created by Mr Cosgrave.

The accounts also show a rise in employment at the firm's Dublin headquarters, to over 160 people.

The firm is currently hiring for 50 more roles.

Average pay at the company, according to the accounts, was just under €43,000 while directors' pay was €337,000.

Irish Independent

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