It has just been confirmed that the Web Summit event is to move to Lisbon next year. Portugal’s Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas confirmed the news this morning in a statement. The global technology conference has been held in Dublin since its inception in 2010 and the move represents a blow to the Irish economy.
In a statement on the Web Summit chief executive and co-founder Paddy Cosgrave said “it has not been an easy decision” to move the event.
This is a big move for us, to leave Dublin after five years,” said Cosgrave in his statement. “Web Summit started its life in a sitting room in Ranelagh. The first event was small, with just 400 attendees. Since then, Web Summit has grown into the most important gathering of start-ups on the planet.
“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.”
The company has confirmed it will continue to be based in Ireland and employs 130 people at its Dublin headquarters. Fáilte Ireland estimates that the Web Summit brought in €100m to the local economy last year. The 2016 Web Summit will now be held MEO Arena and Feira Internacional de Lisboa, a venue that can hold more than 50,000 people.
Lisbon’s larger hotel capacity is also thought to be a factor in the move.
The statement on the Web Summit move in full:
“Today we are excited to announce the next chapter in the Web Summit story. In 2016 Web Summit will move to Lisbon.
“Web Summit 2016 will be held at the MEO Arena and FIL Feira Internacional de Lisboa.
“This is a big move for us, to leave Dublin after five years. Web Summit started its life in a sitting room in Ranelagh. The first event was small, with just 400 attendees. Since then, Web Summit has grown into the most important gathering of start-ups on the planet.
“This November we’re expecting 30,000 attendees to descend upon Dublin and we estimate that more than 50,000 attendees will come to our events over a 12-month period – more than have come to Web Summit in its history prior to 2015.
“We are proud of the fact that we have become an important pillar of the global start-up ecosystem. 90% of our attendees come from abroad.
“That 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.
“In the last six months we have held gatherings in Las Vegas and Hong Kong. These new brands – Collision in the US (which next year will be in New Orleans) and RISE in Hong Kong – are now firmly established. Next February this stable of events will be joined by SURGE in India.
“We know now what it takes to put on a global technology gathering and we know that if Web Summit is to grow further, we need to find it a new home. Our attendees expect the best.
“Lisbon is a great city with a thriving start-up community. What’s more, it has great transport and hotel infrastructure and a state-of-the-art venue with capacity for more than 80,000 attendees.
“So we leave with some sadness. Our HQ is here in Dublin and will remain here. We employ 130 people here and plan to continue growing fast.
“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.
“Now we will be concentrating on making Web Summit 2015 the best ever. We’ll be opening the doors to over 7,000 Irish students and graduates as well as thousands of speakers, investors, media and start-ups.
“We like to think that Web Summit is a gathering of the decision makers of today and the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We will continue to try to showcase the future while delivering new ways of bringing people together, wherever it may be in the world. Thank you for your support.”