Web Summit to license its in-house conferencing software to UN

Company plans to recruit extra 50 staff ahead of this year’s event in Lisbon

Chief executive and co-founder of Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave described the company’s new licensing agreement as a milestone.

Web Summit is to license its conferencing software and the United Nations (UN) is to be its first customer.

The software, which has been built in-house for nearly a decade, is designed to connect the host with a live audience while allowing attendees network. It has allowed the Web Summit scale up to become one of the largest technology events in the world.

The company behind Web Summit also said it plans to recruit an additional 50 staff ahead of this year's event, which takes place in Lisbon in November.

The software facilitated last year’s event, which took place fully online because of the coronavirus. It attracted over 104,000 attendees, making it the largest online business conference of 2020.

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“ While the software was initially designed to complement networking at physical events, that same technology has now been developed specifically to enhance thousands of meaningful connections for attendees online as travel is restricted for business and companies worldwide as a consequence of Covid-19,” the company said in a statement.

The United Nations Development Programme will be the first customer to run Web Summit's conference software for its event - Istanbul Innovation Days, at the end of March.

Milestone

"This is a milestone for Web Summit. We've agreed to run an event in March for the UNDP on our platform. We couldn't imagine having a better first customer," Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder and chief executive of Web Summit, said.

“ It’s been a long journey, and we’ve taken it slow, perfecting the software over years. We’re in no rush for new customers, and we will take our time. In 2022, we hope to partner with other great events,” he said.

The company also noted that it plans to recruit 50 additional employees across its office network in Dublin, Lisbon, Toronto and San Francisco.

The new jobs will be in engineering, product, marketing, producers, startups, media, sales, production and design, it said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times