Europe’s largest technology conference will move fully online this year, the organisers have said. Founded in 2009, by Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly and Daire Hickey, Web Summit was originally held in Dublin, Ireland, until 2016, when it moved permanently to Lisbon, Portugal. The decision followed discussions with the Portuguese authorities.
“Lisbon is still Web Summit’s home but with growing Covid-19 outbreaks across Europe, we have to think of what’s best for the people of Portugal and our attendees,” said Cosgrave, who said he looked forward to welcoming attendees back to Lisbon in 2021.
Organisers had been hopeful that the conference could go ahead in Lisbon with a mixture of online and offline elements. They now aim to host 100,000 online attendees on their own conference platform, 1-4 December. Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan is one of 800 speakers lined up for the online event.
Organiser report that 500 companies have confirmed they will exhibit online at Web Summit.
The news comes in the same week as the World Economic Forum (WEF) announcing that its annual meeting of world leaders and CEOs, typically held in January in Davos, will now instead take place in Lucerne in May 2021 and only if the health and safety of participants can be guaranteed.
Tech conferences were some of the first to cancel their live events because of health fears over coronavirus, with South by Southwest, Mobile World Congress and many Amazon Web Services summits cancelling this year.