Paddy Cosgrave, Web Summit founder
After five years in Dublin, Paddy Cosgrave has announced that the 2016 Web Summit will take place in Lisbon.
The Web Summit has become extremely influential in the global start-up scene, with attendees and guest speakers from all over the world attending the event.
The company will remain based in Dublin, however. In a guest blog announcement, founder Paddy Cosgrave said: “We are an Irish company. Our roots are Irish. Our first attendees were all Irish. It was those first attendees who became our greatest champions, spreading the word of Web Summit far and wide. We couldn’t have gotten here without them. So it has not been an easy decision to move Web Summit from its Irish home. We are going because we want to take the next step on our journey to international growth.”
Lisbon is home to a thriving start-up community and the new venue – the MEO Arena and FIL Feira Internacional – has the capacity for more than 80,000 attendees.
Last year’s event was dogged by reports of poor Wi-Fi services and at the time Cosgrave threatened to move the event to mainland Europe unless the Wi-Fi issues were addressed.
Cosgrave will undoubtedly receive some criticism for the move, but the entrepreneur stated his appreciation for the Irish start-up scene.“We will always be grateful for the support and encouragement we received from the Irish start-up community and those first Irish attendees who helped turn our tiny idea into something beyond anything we ever imagined. We will continue to try to showcase the future while delivering new ways of bringing people together, wherever it may be in the world.”
Dublin Chamber believes the loss of the Web Summit to Lisbon is further proof of the economic need for increased investment in Dublin’s infrastructure.
Gina Quin, CEO, Dublin Chamber: “The Web Summit is now Europe’s biggest tech conference and for a whole week, the eyes of the tech world are on Dublin. The decision by Web Summit to leave Dublin should serve as a wake-up call to the Government about the importance of increasing investment in infrastructure. It’s also a reminder of how Dublin is competing with other international cities for business.”
She continued: “Hotel vacancy rates in Dublin which are in single figures and the demand is such that it is difficult for the organisers of large conferences to book rooms in block … these problems relate to space, and have been exacerbated by a prolonged period of ‘no-build’ in the city, which has reduced supply.”