Web Summit is back in Portugal to talk about the climate and the future of work
The executive president of Web Summit highlighted the climate and the future of work as two of the themes that travel highlighted in this year’s edition, which has more than 200 startups focused on sustainability.
Urged to highlight three themes in this year’s edition of the technology summit, which kicks off on Monday in Lisbon, Paddy Cosgrave believes that “many people will be interested in the period” in terms of the environment.
We have more than 200 startups focused on sustainability, they are doing everything they could imagine “to handle everything,” from creation to energy consumption and everything in between “, he added.
“In addition to climate, energy and the environment, we also have a big focus on crypto,” he said.
Opening night features the founder of the NFT cryptocurrency platform and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
And we close the Web Summit with a conversation with Tim Berners-Lee, who created the web, about the future of the web and the role that decentralization of protocols and technologies can play “, added Cosgrave.
The third theme “that we are seeing from the data of all our participants is the future of work”, he pointed out.
“We have a new stage dedicated to emphasizing and debates about how the work is going to be in the future” because “I don’t think everything will be remote, but I don’t think we’re going back to the old days either”, consider.
So, “what is going to work for most employees? And for most companies? I think that’s not clear and everyone is trying to find out” and this is a topic of interest to a lot of people, point out the co-founder of Web Summit.
This year, the edition will have 40 thousand participants because the priority “is health and safety”, he said, stressing that an organization formalized in “close collaboration with the DGS.
They approved our license two weeks ago and the key to the license approval was that we adhere to all the rules and advice they advised, including social distancing, including how we build the space, what kind of limited spaces “, he explained.
“As a result, the only way to do it safely and respecting all the rules is to increase the space available to everyone. Therefore, this year the maximum capacity is 40,000”, he said, adding that the event is “very close to being full “.
Asked if he expects to double the space for next year, Paddy Cosgrave said yes.
“Unless there’s something I don’t know, my expectation is that the space will be doubled, building convention spaces is very, very fast,” it takes about six months to complete, he said.
With the increase in space, the organization hopes to host more than 100,000 participants
“I have no doubt that the Web Summit could be several times the size of what it is today if we had more space,” he points out.
In the year edition there will be “literally many of these startups, 1,500 startups will be part of our program. Several of them will appear on stage. I think there is a particular group of startups that are in my mind, as more exciting or more important”, said , distributed like 200 focused on the weather.
In addition, a “COP26 [conferência das Nações Unidas sobre alterações climáticas] will happen at the same time. And we political leaders around the world and the biggest polluters. I don’t know why they are there. Hopefully, education that the agreement is favorable, “commented.
But at Web Summit we have several entrepreneurs who get their companies and their innovations to help us create a more habitable planet in the coming years, a more sustainable planet “, he said.
In terms of countries, the United Kingdom leads, despite Brexit, followed by Germany, with Brazil occupying the top 5 of the startups’ home countries.
“I think there is a sleeping giant in Latin America that is slowly waking up and how their startups are catching up to conquer Europe and are coming to the Web Summit in increasing numbers,” he said.
Companies from Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde are also participating in this year’s edition.
“I think the most challenging continent in participation [desde evento] is Africa because of vaccination rates, “which are” below 5% in most countries, which makes it impossible, in most cases, how these people travel, “he lamented.
In terms of media, 1,500 are registered. It is not part of the participation to participation by gender, “more than 40% of the participants” and “more than 30% of the speakers” are female
On speaker Frances Haugen, whistleblower of Facebook practices, whose topic has been on the agenda, Paddy Cosgrave said that everyone at Web Summit “is grown up and understands that” these are the conversations “that you need to have at the event.
I think attendees would rather hear these conversations than endless tales of little tech products that may or may not work”, considered.
On expanding events beyond the Web Summit, Cosgrave pointed out that over the next decade the biggest growth markets for the summit are South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
“We are planning the next three years to start regional Web Summit events” certain markets, due to arrive in 2023.
“If we want to grow the annual event, we need to go to markets where the potential for growth exists”, because then it is “easier to persuade” people to take planes and fly other parts of the world to come to Lisbon every year, he argued.
Paddy Cosgrave points out that there were changes in the Portuguese ecosystem: first, the entrepreneurs were all men, which has not happened today, and they were all Portuguese, which is no longer true either.
“I would say that at least a third, if not half of the businessmen are from other countries around the world that have decided” to come to Portugal, he pointed out.
“I think one of the most surprising changes is the number of people starting companies in Portugal, which says a lot”, and when a new company decides to choose the country to open the business, it “enriches the whole ecosystem”.
On the possibility of Portugal creating an artificial intelligence (AI) ‘hub’, Paddy Cosgrave points out that this is an area that “obviously will have a huge role in the future of medicine, security”, in almost every aspect of people’s lives .
So the more Portugal can do to support cutting-edge research and then help bring together leading companies in space, I think it ends up having a positive cumulative effect on the ecosystem”, he defended, although he admits that in the area of AI there are still many things that are not clear.
“I’m sure there is a future, it’s just uncertain how big that future will be and how big will be the role it will play for Portugal,” he resumed.
As for expectations for this year’s edition, Cosgrave said he has never seen so many people “enthusiastic” about the Web Summit as he has now.
“I think people are just excited to be back,” he said, hoping their expectations live up to reality.
“What is important for us (…) is that we ensure as much as possible that the event is safe” and that “there is coffee available”, he said, smiling.
“And after that, all the magic and all the ‘networking’ should just happen,” concluded Paddy Cosgrave.