As stars of technology, business, sport, and food descend on the capital’s RDS, about 22,000 attendees are expected to boost the local economy to the tune of €102m.
Fáilte Ireland director of market development John Concannon said the summit represented a unique opportunity to showcase Ireland and its potential as a business location to the attendees — more than 85% of which are from overseas.
“Not only does it bring in great business for Dublin but it does much more for Brand Dublin and Brand Ireland,” said Mr Concannon. “It presents Ireland as an innovative and creative place to visit and do business. The press it brings is unparalleled.”
The event, which will take place across nine stages, is a prime opportunity for business leaders and investors to mingle and inevitably leads to deals being struck.
Last year, the top 25 start-ups exhibiting at the Web Summit raised over €320m ($400m) in its aftermath.
Companies such as Qualtrics, Dropbox, Nordeus, Squarespace, and Zendesk have since set up bases in Ireland, while smart-home pioneers Smartthings won the events start-up award in 2012 and went on to be acquired by Samsung for $200m last summer.
Smartthings CEO Alex Hawkinson said that the funding they secured after attending the Web Summit was an unintended consequence of their visit.
“We didn’t go to Dublin with the intent of getting a cheque at all, the goal was simply to learn from the start-up system and help people understand Smartthings,” he said. “During the course of the conference we met seed investors and through casual conversations they sought us out to talk more.”
As Europe’s largest technology festival, 13,000 hotel rooms will house those visiting the capital to see the likes of Paypal founder Peter Thiel, Drew Houston of Dropbox, and Tumblr founder David Karp, as well as indigenous success stories with the likes of PCH chief executive and Cork native Liam Casey and John Collison, co-founder of online payment platform Stripe.
For the next three days, Dublin is the capital of the online world.