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Web Summit

Web Summit is an annual technology conference on topics including internet technology, emerging technologies, and venture capitalism.
Summary

Web Summit is a big technology conference that happens every year in Lisbon, Portugal. It started in 2009 by Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly, and Daire Hickey, and used to be in Dublin, Ireland until 2016, when it moved to Lisbon permanently. Web Summit's partners include Fortune 500 companies, government entities, and private foundations, such as Google, Amazon, Cisco Systems and Microsoft.

The conference focusses on the topics related to technology, including the internet, new gadgets, and how to invest in tech ideas. People from big corporations and also from small startups come together at Web Summit. The participants discuss and present new ideas, make partnerships, and get insights from the industry veterans and big players.

Apart from the main Summit, it also organises events in different parts of the world like Hong Kong, Toronto, Bangalore, and Dublin. These events are like smaller versions of the big Web Summit, but they all share the same goal: bringing together people and enthusiasts in the world of technology.

Some of the previous speakers include tech titans Reed Hastings and Jack Dorsey; cultural ambassadors Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, and Amy Poehler; prominent political figures Al Gore and Margrethe Vestager; and celebrities Seth Rogen and Nicole Kidman.

Web Summit events have gathered half a million people across Web Summit in Lisbon, Web Summit Rio in South America, Web Summit Qatar in the Middle East, Collision in North America, and RISE in Asia since its beginnings as a 150-person conference in Dublin in 2009.


History

In 2009, its inaugural year, Web Summit emerged as a gathering of bloggers, journalists, and technologists, setting the stage for what was to come. The conference swiftly expanded in scope and influence. By 2010, it evolved into a local meetup in Dublin, connecting around 400 members of the technology community. In 2011, the event tripled in size and found a new home at the Royal Dublin Society, featuring notable speakers like Chad Hurley, Jack Dorsey, and Matt Mullenweg.

As Web Summit's momentum surged, its impact grew significantly. In 2012, the conference drew 4,200 participants, with 60% hailing from various European countries. Tim Armstrong, Wael Ghonim, and Arkady Volozh were among the esteemed speakers who shared their insights. The subsequent years continued to mark milestones, with 2013 introducing over 10,000 attendees and a broader range of events, including the Night Summit and Food Summit, showcasing gourmet Irish cuisine.

The turning point arrived in 2015 when Web Summit transitioned from Dublin to Lisbon, Portugal, seeking a larger stage for its ever-expanding community. This marked a period of transformation, during which the conference grappled with challenges like Wi-Fi connectivity issues in 2014 and navigated its growth on a global scale.

2020 marked a unique year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting Web Summit to pivot to an online format. Despite the challenges, the event continued to be a hub of networking, innovation, and knowledge exchange.

The 2021 Web Summit took place in Lisbon, Portugal, from November 1 to November 4, back to the regular format but with restrictions, welcoming 42.000 participants. Portuguese startup Smartex won the Pitch competition.

The 2022 edition took place from November 1 to November 4 and welcomed 71,003 attendees, 2,296 Startups, 342 Partners and more than 2,000 media members.

The First Web Summit Rio took place in 2023 with 21,367 attendees from all over the world. The RISE Return event was also announced to be held in 2025. 

In 2024, two events each at Rio de Janeiro and Qatar are also expected to draw in huge number of attendees.


Goals and Purpose

Web Summit is driven by a compelling mission to facilitate meaningful connections and interactions among a diverse spectrum of influential individuals. The conference aspires to forge a dynamic platform where CEOs, founders, investors, media professionals, politicians, and cultural influencers converge with a common goal: to reshape and steer the trajectory of the world through technology and innovation.

Web Summit's overarching purpose is to foster a fertile ground for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and networking. By uniting these pivotal players from various sectors, the conference endeavors to catalyze transformative ideas, strategic partnerships, and groundbreaking ventures that have the potential to redefine industries and drive societal progress.

The essence of Web Summit's objectives lies in propelling the global landscape of technology, business, and culture towards new horizons. By providing a shared arena for thought leaders and trailblazers, the conference strives to enable the cross-pollination of ideas, insights, and expertise. Ultimately, Web Summit aims to be more than just an event; it seeks to be a driving force behind the positive evolution of our interconnected world, where innovation, collaboration, and connectivity reign supreme.


Impact

The conference's networking prowess has yielded tangible results. Over the years, startups like Nutrix and Smartex, showcased at Web Summit, have secured substantial investments and gained industry recognition, propelling them from obscurity to prominence. The sheer numbers speak volumes: the 2022 edition alone welcomed a staggering 71,003 attendees, including 2,296 startups and 342 partners. Such convergence of diverse talents has led to partnerships, collaborations, and strategic alliances that reverberate beyond the conference's duration.

Web Summit's impact as a knowledge hub is equally remarkable. With over 1,200 speakers gracing the stage in 2017, including luminaries like Elon Musk, Al Gore, and Wladimir Klitschko, the conference has facilitated critical discourse on cutting-edge technologies, business trends, and socio-technological implications. This knowledge dissemination has influenced attendees and global audiences alike, empowering them to navigate the intricate landscapes of the digital era.

In terms of entrepreneurship, the conference's role in fostering innovation is evident. Startups, backed by Web Summit's exposure, have witnessed meteoric rises. The conference's influence doesn't stop at the event's conclusion – its ripple effects are felt in boardrooms and investment meetings. For instance, startups that participated in Web Summit's Pitch competition, like Portuguese startup Smartex in 2021, have not only secured vital funding but have also leveraged the conference's platform to propel their growth trajectories.

Beyond these quantifiable metrics, Web Summit's impact resonates through the societal conversations it catalyses. By addressing topics such as ethical AI, cybersecurity, and the intersection of technology and society, the conference has propelled discussions that shape policy frameworks and drive ethical considerations in technological advancements.


References

 

Web Summit
Leadership team

Peter Gilmer (Chief Impact Officer)

Patrick Kirwan (CFO)

Ronan Mooney (Chief People Officer)

Luca Viola (Chief Technology Officer)

Mike Sexton (Chief Marketing Technology Officer)

Headquarters
Dartry Road, Dublin , County Dublin 6, IE
Region served
worldwide
Year stablished
2009
Address
Dartry Road, Dublin , County Dublin 6, IE
Social Media
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