Web Summit event move to Dublin ‘nothing to do with departure of Kenny’

Moneyconf to move from Madrid next summer

Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave will bring financial technology conference Moneyconf to Dublin next summer. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave will bring financial technology conference Moneyconf to Dublin next summer. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images


The company behind the Web Summit is to relocate one of its subsidiary conferences to Dublin from Madrid next year

It denied the timing of the announcement had anything to do with the departure of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

The Web Summit left Dublin for Lisbon in 2016, and its departure was marked by considerable rancour between co-founder and chief executive Paddy Cosgrave and the Taoiseach’s office.

However, the company has now said it will relocate Moneyconf, its financial technology conference to the city from Madrid next summer.

The event is not as big as the Web Summit, and about 1,000 delegates are likely to attend Moneyconf this week in the Spanish capital.

While the numbers may be smaller, Web Summit does point out that many of the big players in international finance are represented at the event - including Goldman Sachs, Visa and Alipay.

“Brexit is transforming Dublin as a financial centre,” the company said in a short statement. “Major banks, credit card companies and fintech startups have all signed leases in recent months. JP Morgan is moving up to 1,000 bankers alone to Dublin. It’s an incredible moment.”

It also said the timing of the return “has nothing to do with Enda Kenny’s departure” and concluded by saying it would offer €1.5 million worth of free tickets to students from every school and college in Ireland to all its events globally.

The Web Summit employs 150 people and is looking to fill a number of roles at its headquarters in Dartry, including positions in sales and engineering.

The Irish-founded tech conference started in Ireland in 2009 with less than 400 attendees and grew to about 40,000 by 2015.

The summit, which attracted 53,056 attendees from over 166 countries in 2016, is expecting to draw 60,000 people to Lisbon this November.

Web Summit also organises several other global technology events, including Collision in the US and Rise in Hong Kong.

Speaking in April as the company announced a recruitment drive in the Republic, Mr Cosgrave said Dublin was still “a very important part of the Web Summit DNA” with its headquarters remaining here.

He said that contrary to the position he held a few years ago, he was impressed with the quality of talent available locally.

He also refused to rule out Web Summit returning home at some point. “Web Summit has become the largest technology conference in the world. The only two remaining events are CES and Mobile World Congress, which deal with particular niches. Web Summit became what it is, largely because of Dublin, a city that is an amazing place to run events,” he said.

“We are always talking to different cities for all our events and previously moved Collision from Las Vegas to New Orleans and MoneyConf from Belfast to Madrid.

“We’re in very positive dialogue with all the various stakeholders in Ireland, and I expect those relationships to go from strength to strength in the coming years. We’re absolutely looking at something at some point.”