Web Summit plans for 100,000 offline and online visitors in December

The Web has said that it will return in with capacity for 100,000 attendees, both and online.

With Collision now underway, Web Summit has promised that its flagship will event return with both offline and online events from two days from 2 this year. In a press conference today, CEO and founder Paddy Cosgrave described Collision so far as a “demo day” for future events radically changed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, its organisers have said that the Web Summit main event will have a capacity of up to 100,000 and refuted rumours that the event was not going to go ahead at all. However, what format the event will take and what percentage of the event will be held offline is yet to be decided until the beginning of October at the earliest. After this point, it will be reviewed weekly ahead of the December start date.

“The purpose for most of us going to these events is networking. The serendipity that happens at events is the allure and magnetism that draws people back,” Cosgrave said earlier today (24 June).

“We have been building software that enables connections at events for over half a decade so we could pivot quite naturally online. Our platform will hopefully enable people from all over the world to make the same meaningful and valuable connections that are somewhat similar to the real world.”

SaaS for big events

In his follow-up afternoon press conference, Cosgrave said that the platform the company developed to allow Collision be an online-only event will likely be treated as software-as-a-service (SaaS) that could be licenced for other events.

“Our focus is on very large events run by the biggest companies in the world whose needs are bespoke and similar to ours,” Cosgrave said.

“That requires a level of planning and features that is not what your average-size conference needs. Most companies want to continue to do business or organise events and if we can help them in any way we could do that.”

He added that his hope is that the flagship Web Summit event could potentially hold more than 100,000 attendees. With Portugal still the official home of the event, Cosgrave said that offline events will likely be held across the country, rather than just in Lisbon.

“Whatever the limitations are we want to do something spread over Portugal,” he said. “For the last three years it’s been so focused on Lisbon.”

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