The Web Summit Is Ditching Dublin From Next Year On – And Here's Why
Bad, bad news
So this is a bit shit.
After five successful years in its home city of Dublin, the Web Summit has made a fairly radical decision – it's going to pull out of here and set up shop in Lisbon instead.
In a blog post published this morning, founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave said: "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 startup 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.
In other words: Dublin ain't good enough to play in the big leagues.
He did, however, clarify that the centre of operations would remain in Dublin – and so thankfully there's no direct danger to jobs as a result of the switch.
"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."
Nonetheless, this is a sensational blow to the city. Some 90% of the 22,000 in attendance at last year's event came from abroad, meaning this leaves an absolutely massive gap to fill in the hospitality industry – and that's to say nothing of the prestige and visibility presented to the Irish startup scene as a result of the Summit.
This is a big move for us, to leave Dublin after 5 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 startups on the planet.Paddy Cosgrave
And while it would be easy to get pissed off with Cosgrave and co for being 'disloyal' to their home city, perhaps it's a chance for the industries here to reflect on how they may have foolishly slaughtered a golden goose.
According to a report by Adrian Weckler in the Irish Independent last year, Dublin hotels were instituting price hikes of up to 600% for the duration of the Summit. Add to that the shitshow surrounding wifi at last year's event, and you can't really blame them for looking further afield.
Still, though. An absolutely shit way to start a Wednesday morning – and a massive blow for Dublin.