Web Summit is an annual technology conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, considered the largest tech event in the world. Founded in 2009, by Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly and Daire Hickey, Web Summit was originally held in Dublin, Ireland, until 2016, when it moved permanently to Lisbon, Portugal. Web Summit has been described as the most important tech event in the world.
|Venue||Altice Arena and Lisbon Exhibition & Congress Centre|
|Founders||Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly and Daire Hickey|
|Most recent||4-7 November 2019|
The conference's topics center on internet technology, emerging technologies, and venture capitalism. Speakers have included a mix of CEOs, subject-matter experts, celebrities, and politicians, such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Al Gore, and U.N Secretary-General António Guterres, among numerous others. Web Summit partners range from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, with attendees representing all levels and sectors of the global high technology industry.
Web Summit 2017 took place in Lisbon from November 4th to November 7th. Attendance was at 70,000 participants. Some of the speakers include Medium Founder & CEO Ev Williams, President Microsoft Corporation Brad Smith, and CEO at Booking.com Gillian Tans.
1,000 speakers were initially confirmed for the conference and, finally, over 1200 spoke. From the political sphere, speakers such as Former Vice President of the United States of America Al Gore, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, and former president of France François Hollande were announced early. In addition to these speakers, big names in tech attending were Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, Microsoft president Brad Smith, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, Arm Holdings CEO Simon Segars, Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, Asana co-founder and CEO and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, , Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica and Booking.com president and CEO Gillian Tans.
Speakers include former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, actress and activist Sophia Bush, former Portuguese professional football player and Ballon D'Or winner Luis Figo, Vogue international editor Suzy Menkes, former chess world champion Garry Kasparov, musician Wyclef Jean, and Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham.
In September 2015 Web Summit co-founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave announced that the event would be held in Lisbon for three consecutive editions, from 2016 to 2018. Cosgrave cited the local startup scene and a "cosmopolitan city with better infrastructure conditions and a larger number of hotel rooms" for the decision.
Among the more than 600 speakers were a number of tech top executives from around the world, including John Chambers of Cisco, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, and Amazon CTO Werner Vogels. Also speaking at the event were prominent figures from non-tech areas, such as actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Salil Shetty of Amnesty International and Mogens Lykketoft, president of the general assembly at the United Nations, as well as footballer Luís Figo and both the Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister António Costa. The percentage of women among speakers at the Web Summit was 47% according to independent estimates.
Web Summit 2015 was held over three days from 3 November until the 5 November at the RDS in Dublin. Over 42,000 people attended the event over the three days. Speakers included Ed Catmull of Pixar, Michael Dell, Bill Ford and Chris Froome.
In September 2015 Web Summit announced that they would be moving the event from Dublin to Lisbon. Following the announcement organisers released email correspondence between the Irish Government and Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave about hotel costs, traffic and other issues around infrastructure in Dublin. This led to a debate in the Irish media about the support the Government had provided to the event since it began and what future promises they could make.
Problems arose with the Wi-Fi, but on a lesser scale than in 2014.
Web Summit 2014 was held over three days and consisted of nine stages or Summits as they are known; Centre, Machine, Enterprise, Marketing, Builders, Society, Sport, Film and Music. Eva Longoria, Peter Thiel and Bono were among the speakers that spoke over the three-day event, with attendance of 22,000 people from 109 countries.
On Day 1 there were problems with the WiFi network and Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave took to the stage on two occasions to apologise for the connectivity problems. The RDS defended their technical set-up with CEO Michael Duffy saying, "The WiFi has successfully responded to the exceptional demands placed on it. This is an unprecedented WiFi density compared to similar European tech events." Attendees were mostly disparaging in their remarks, with some deriding it on social media as "the most Irish thing ever".
The event expanded in its scope with a number of side-events launching as part it, including the Night Summit, a series of after-hours events featuring musicians from throughout the world, and the Food Summit, a two-day showcase of gourmet Irish Food.
Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, also opened the NASDAQ Market from the Web Summit, the first time it was opened outside of New York since the Facebook IPO. The event was covered substantially in the international media with Bloomberg Television, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and Wired covering the event.
In 2012, 4,200 people attended Web Summit, approximately 40% of these came from companies based in Ireland (which provides a European HQ for several major tech companies) and 60% came from companies based elsewhere in Europe. Speakers included Tim Armstrong, Wael Ghonim, and Arkady Volozh.
A number of companies from across the world also launched their new products or made announcements as part of the event.
The first Web Summit was a mix of bloggers, journalists and technologists in a hotel on the outskirts of Dublin. Panelists and speakers included Iain Dale, the political blogger, Ben Hammersley of the Guardian and Ian Douglas of the Daily Telegraph. In 2010 it was a meet-up for 400 or so of the local technology community in the Chartered Accountants House in Dublin. Speakers were mainly local entrepreneurs, business people, and investors. In 2011, the event tripled in size and moved to the Royal Dublin Society. Speakers included Chad Hurley, Jack Dorsey and Matt Mullenweg.
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