What began as an informal gathering of members of the Dublin tech community has rapidly become one of the world’s most influential international tech conferences. Web Summit has come to exemplify the new ideas that are changing the world in which we live, both today and tomorrow.
According to founder Paddy Cosgrave, he persuaded the creators of Twitter and Skype to attend the first edition while calling from a rented house he shared with four friends from college. Since that inaugural gathering in 2010, which registered approximately 450 attendees, Web Summit has attracted business leaders from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and an impressive list of Fortune 500 companies. Big players such as Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Drew Houston, and Niklas Zennström have all attended the conference – all of which have left their mark on technology as we know it.
This month, Dublin hosted its fifth conference and reported some incredible numbers. Web Summit recorded over 22,000 attendees, represented over 100 countries, and showcased over 500 world-renowned speakers. Also in attendance were 800 of the best tech journalists, and 1,000 experienced investors. You can find the extensive list of those investors here.
Startups from over 70 countries made the trek to Dublin, Ireland in hopes of leaving their footprint on Europe’s biggest tech meeting. 52,000 startups began the application process. Utimately, only 2,150 received the official invite. With the successful exhibits of startups in years past such as Nest, Waze, Coursera, and Uber, it is easy to understand why Web Summit has garnered vast international recognition.
Also in attendance this year was John Sculley, former Apple CEO. While discussing his latest book “Moonshot!,” John Sculley emphasized the incredible technological opportunities available today. “There’s never been a better time than right now to build new entrepreneurial companies.” He also added, “There are so many powerful technologies it’s like a tsunami effect that is causing a market power shift from incumbents to customers in control.”
Why is Web Summit important? As noted at the conference, it is an important reminder to the tech world that startups are flourishing outside of Silicon Valley. We are in the midst of mini “Silicon Valley” eruptions all over the world. One of these eruptions can be found in Helsinki, Finland. With an active gaming scene and dozens of companies involved in mobile gaming, Helsinki has emerged as a major player in the industry.
The landscape is changing and Web Summit is helping to facilitate the tech of the future. As John Sculley said, “There’s never been a better time than right now.”