Achill is to benefit from Dublin Web Summit spinoff tourism, as around 60 entrepreneurs and venture capitalists travel west to the Mayo island for a kitesurfing and networking event this weekend.
The invite-only session is being organised by Galway-born, Silicon Valley-based web entrepreneur Philip McNamara, who was inspired by a similar kitesurfing weekend he attended in Hawaii after he first moved to the US three years ago.
“It will be a great way for Irish start-ups to mingle with some venture capitalists to share ideas and feedback in a relaxed environment,” he says.
“The Web Summit is very hectic with around 10,000 people attending, whereas the Achill event will be a much more intimate gathering where people can get to know each other on a one-to-one basis and build a relationship with a possible investor.”
Among the list of participants are Konstantin Othmer, who has invested in over 40 start-ups, Aaron Gershenberg, a managing partner at Silicon Valley Bank, and Khris Loux, founder and chief executive of Echo, the real-time web platform provider.
Minister of State for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon will also attend, along with representatives from the IDA and Fáilte Ireland. Between networking dinners, a cycling event and sessions hosted by local trad musicians, attendees will be coached by former world champion kitesurfer Youri Zoon on Keel Beach, one of Ireland's top surf spots.
“The Web Summit is concentrated in Dublin, but I was keen to show participants the west of Ireland so they can learn about opportunities outside the capital, and to bring a tourism boost to the area,” McNamara says.
The weekend is free for attendees thanks to sponsorship from companies such as Beauchamps, Voxpro, PWC and Silicon Valley Bank.