Web Summit confirms return to in-person event in Lisbon

12 Aug 2021

Image: Web Summit

The annual tech conference will return to Portugal with a speaker line-up including Amy Poehler, Margrethe Vestager and Brad Smith.

Web Summit, Europe’s largest tech event, will return to Lisbon this November as an in-person conference after going online in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The annual conference brings together some of the sector’s leading figures, start-ups and policymakers to discuss the future of tech and more.

Co-founded by CEO Paddy Cosgrave, the event was held in Dublin until 2016 when it moved to Lisbon. The company that organises it is headquartered in Dublin.

Web Summit was on a hiring spree earlier this year in preparation for an in-person gathering, and has this week confirmed that Lisbon’s Altice Arena, where the event has been held in previous years, will be the location for the conference from 1 to 4 November 2021.

Some of this year’s speakers include comedian Amy Poehler, EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager, footballer Gerard Piqué and Microsoft president Brad Smith. Leaders from big names in the industry such as Reddit, Amazon and Tinder are also in the line-up of more than 1,000 speakers.

Almost 1,300 start-ups attending Web Summit are expected to meet leading investors including Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, Bedrock’s Geoff Lewis, Mosaic Ventures’ Benedict Evans and Felicis Ventures’ Wesley Chan.

“We couldn’t be more excited to return in person. Seeing people safely connecting in person again, and re-experiencing the magic of face-to-face interactions, will be incredible,” said Cosgrave.

“Live events are bouncing back across the world. We’re seeing thousands of speakers, start-ups, investors and world-class media eager as ever to meet people in person again.”

Poehler, who co-created the Smart Girls project aimed at empowering young women, will talk about social media’s impact on young women around the world. Piqué, another name not immediately associated with tech, is also the founder and president of sports-focused VC Kosmos.

While the venue is being prepared for social distancing, Web Summit organisers told Reuters that they are still in contact with Portuguese health authorities on confirming other Covid-19 protocols, with a decision to be made on whether masks and tests will be mandatory.

Masks will no longer be compulsory outdoors in Portugal in September as the country’s Covid-19 restrictions ease, but will still be required in large crowds and indoor events.

Last year’s online event had more than 100,000 attendees, and organisers have said that around 40,000 people are expected to attend in person this year.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic