Europe’s Autumn Summit Season Continues in Dublin

By Conor Rushby |

The latest stop in the autumn tech conference season gets under way on Wednesday with the Dublin Web Summit. The two-day affair will see a variety of speakers, entrepreneurs and investors converging on the Irish capital.

But if you’re going to miss it, don’t fret; the Pioneers Festival later this month and Le Web in December both promise to be a worthwhile trip drawing attendants and big name speakers from around the world.

The Dublin Web Summit has grown rapidly since its inception in 2009: 200 people showed up to the inaugural event; this year organisers are expecting 3,000 with a good balance between budding businesses and industry heavy weights. With emphasis given to networking, 250 startups will exhibit to investors and experts, while 100 of those will be shortlisted to take part in the Electric Ireland Spark of Genius Competition – for which the winner will receive an undisclosed cash prize.

Billing itself as the biggest European tech conference, and with a secondary event in London, the Summit will also see talks from Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Victoria Ransom, founder of Wildfire, and Kevin Rose of Google Ventures. There will also be a strong home contingent featuring Noel Curran, director-general of RTÉ, Paul Rellis, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, and Louise Phelan from PayPal.

Don’t fancy the Dublin drizzle? Perhaps the imperial glory of Vienna’s Ringstraße will tempt you further afield. The Pioneers Festival is a four day bash, with a similar balance between startups, investors, and guest speakers.

The event begins with a startup day on October 28, where pitch challenge entrants can sharpen up their presentations for the following day – when they showcase their ideas and businesses to investors. There’s also a Pioneers hackathon to build finance mobile apps, while the latter two days, starting October 30, will see the official opening ceremony, and the actual conference, complete with speeches and hands-on workshops.

A host of industry experts will be sharing their wisdom, including Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, and Berlin’s own Felix Petersen, founder of Amen, and  Edial Dekker, founder of Gidsy,

In contrast Le Web, held in Paris from December 4 – 6, is themed; it will revolve around the Internet of things, or in other words, the widespread connection of the physical and virtual worlds touted by many as the future of the Internet.

The focus rests on a series of speakers include Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram, David Marcus, president of PayPal and Alexander Ljung of SoundCloud. There will also be a startup competition, with semi-finalists confirmed prior to the conference and given the opportunity to present ideas to industry leaders and investors.