Where’s me jumper? No woolly thinking at MoneyConf

Cantillon: Apart from a lost Aran jumper, this conference was controversy-free

Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave: said he had “little left to troll the establishment”about. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave: said he had “little left to troll the establishment”about. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

If you were expecting fireworks and controversy at MoneyConf from Web Summit chief executive Paddy Cosgrave, you’d have been left disappointed. The conference drew to a close without a fiery speech or any criticism of the facilities in Dublin. The wifi held up.

If anyone was expecting a stand-off over action on corruption or a showdown on measures to correct property prices, it never came.

In fact, the closest things got to controversy was a missing Aran jumper (subsequently safely located), the Web Summit co-founder’s now-signature accessory.

Accused

But Cosgrave had already signalled that there would be no repeat of the final days of Web Summit in Dublin, when in an interview on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland show, he accused the government of lying about its involvement with the tech conference. At a press conference on the first day of the fintech conference, he told journalists he had “little left to troll the establishment” about.

There were ample opportunities to air any grievances, but none came. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar took to the stage to open proceedings on the second day, welcoming the conference to Dublin before outlining exactly why Ireland was a good place to do business (spoiler: we’re an open economy and we have vision, imagination and a dollop of Irish charm).

“Web Summit as you know was born in Ireland,” Mr Varadkar said. “It’s good to have one of the conferences that spun out of that back here in the place where [it] was born.”

Niche

MoneyConf is, of course, nowhere near the scale of Web Summit. The niche conference concentrates on fintech firms, cryptocurrencies, payments. About 5,000 people attended over the two days, compared with the Web Summit’s aim for 70,000 in Lisbon this year. But lest anyone think that MoneyConf was the consolation prize for losing the Web Summit – an event that outgrew its Dublin home significantly – the organiser said MoneyConf would remain in Dublin for the foreseeable future. He was also full of praise for the RDS and its potential role in hosting future science and technology events.

Has the tech entrepreneur mellowed? Time will tell.