Web Summit opens with record 2,600 start-ups
Web Summit, considered the largest tech fair in the world, opened on Monday evening with a record number of start-ups and for the first time without former CEO Paddy Gosgrave.
According to the organisation, this year’s event, which runs until Thursday, November 16, has 900 investors, 2,000 media representatives, 300 partners, 800 speakers, 70,000 participants, of which 42% are women; all from 160 countries.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the main topics on the agenda for this year, which in the run-up was clouded by the resignation of co-founder Paddy Cosgrave as CEO after statements he made on the social media network X (formerly Twitter) about the Israel-Hamas conflict.
On October 21 he was replaced by the former director of the Wikimedia Foundation, Katherine Maher.
The 8th edition of Web Summit takes place just days after the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa resigned over a green hydrogen and lithium contacts scandal engulfing the government.
On Tuesday, the secretary of State for Digitalisation, Mário Campolargo, said that despite the controversy surrounding Paddy Gosgrave or the government, the essence of Web Summit had not been upset.
“The essence of Web Summit is to highlight Portuguese and non-Portuguese talent, for them to network with each other, and this essence has not been upset. Quite to the contrary, it is fuelled by this massive presence. (70,000 startups)”, he told Jornal Económico, Radio Renascença and the news agency Lusa.
“What is important at Web Summit is that we’ve got a vibrant eco-system and seeing all these people exchanging ideas and seeing how the success of some can be the success of others
This is the ecosystem that has ensured that today in Portugal we have seven unicorns, with a 2.8% impact on GDP, and greater in proportion than any other country in Europe”, he said.