Friday 28 October 2016

Web Summit could grow to 100,000 attendees at RDS, says founder Paddy Cosgrave

Paddy Cosgrave
Paddy Cosgrave
The Web Summit in Dublin 2014

Founder of the Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave has said the RDS has enough space to allow the event to grow to 100,000 attendees.

At the launch of this year's summit, Mr Cosgrave refused to speak about negotiations over a potential move away from Dublin.

"Last year we built 100,000 square feet of temporary structures in Herbert Park and I think within a 1km radius there is a huge amount of public space and private space in the form of Belvedere Rugby Club and Merrion Cricket Club.

"The RDS itself has probably three times the floor area available, that is in the form of car parks at the moment, so I mean the space is in theory infinite," Mr Cosgrave (inset) said.

He said there was big potential with the RDS.

"You could grow to probably 100,000, as many other conferences have in smaller cities around the world. So there are solutions and we've used some of those solutions in previous years."

Portugal's Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas said that Lisbon has been applying to replace Dublin as host since March.

Mr Cosgrave says that it isn't the only interest the summit has received in recent years.

"Since the very first event that we held in Ireland, we've been approached. In 2011 we held a number of meetings in No.10 Downing Street. The number of countries and cities that have become involved in the Web Summit has grown substantially over the last number of years and anybody that was at the 2014 summit would notice the huge presence of a number of foreign State agencies and governments."

The Web Summit has grown substantially since its creation in 2010, when only 400 people attended. Last year, the Web Summit saw over 22,000 people attend from over 100 countries.

Mr Cosgrave expects the number of attendees to grow to over 30,000 this year.

The Summit will feature some of the leaders in the world of technology today, including Sean Rad of Tinder, founder of Instagram Mike Krieger, along with novelist Dan Brown and Stripe's John Collinson.


"Over our first few years up until 2014 we had about 3,000 start-ups that participated; this year we'll have over 2,000 start-ups. We'll have over 1,000 investors from all of the leading VC funds, including all the top angel investors and all the top late-stage investors. On top of that there are more than 600 speakers to cover so many different areas," said Mr Cosgrave.

No timescale has been given as to when a decision will be made about next year's location.

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