LONDON -- Web Summit, the largest technology conference in Europe, has announced that from 2016 it will move from its home in Dublin to Lisbon for at least the next three years.
The move will be seen as a huge hit for the Irish economy where Web Summit grew rapidly over the last five years since first being run in 2010. At a press briefing in Lisbon Wednesday, CEO and Co-founder Paddy Cosgrave is expected to say the conference -- founded in 2010 -- has outgrown its home in Ireland. Cosgrave will be joined by Portugal’s Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas at the announcement.
“After careful consideration we have decided to host Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon,” Cosgrave said, in a statement. Speaking to Irish state broadcaster RTE from Lisbon, Cosgrave said they had chosen the Portuguese capital for its strong infrastructure, thriving startup community and world-class venue. He thanked the people of Ireland for their support and said the company, which employs 130 people, would remain headquartered in the Irish capital.
It is estimated by Ireland's tourism board that Web Summit brought $110 million into the Irish economy in 2014 alone.
In Lisbon, the event will take place at the MEO Arena and Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL), which can accommodate at least 50,000 people, and has extensive transport links and capacity to enable it to grow significanlty in the future.
High-profile attendees Cosgrave and his team have been able to attract to the event include Tesla co-founder Elon Musk and Nest Labs' Tony Fadell along with superstars from other spheres, including Eva Longoria, Tony Hawk and Bono. The 2015 running of the event will take place in Dublin this November.
During the event last year Cosgrave gave the owners of the venue an ultimatum to improve its wireless infrastructure or risk losing the conference, after attendees reported huge problems with the event Wi-Fi.
Web Summit was co-founded by Cosgrave, Daire Hickey and David Kelly and has grown quickly into Europe's largest technology conference, attracting a lot of recognizable people within the industry. Cosgrave also founded the high-profile F.ounders conference -- dubbed "Davos for Geeks" -- and together the companies behind the conferences returned profits of over 600,000 euros ($666,000) in 2013.
The first staging of the Web Summit in 2010 was little more than a gathering of 500 members of Ireland's growing technology community, but by 2013, the event had grown to attract over 10,000 attendees from 97 countries and the 2014 event attracted 20,000 attendees.