Web Summit: Looking forward

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Web Summit will take place from November 13-16, and we’re looking forward to welcoming up to 70,000 people in Lisbon.

Web Summit’s mission has always been to connect people and ideas that change the world. We do that by bringing the most promising startups, entrepreneurs, investors and media together to make meaningful connections that will reshape the future.

From November 13-16, Web Summit 2023 will take place with a full programme, including 25-plus stages, PITCH competitions, investors meetings, masterclasses and roundtables, and Mentor Hours. Night Summit events will also be happening across some of the most exciting neighbourhoods in Lisbon, giving our attendees the opportunity to network after-hours.

The event will reflect a rich, global tapestry of perspectives and experiences, with a record-breaking 2,600 startups – almost one third of which are founded by women – from more than 85 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Lichtenstein, Peru and Ghana. These startups will join more than 800 investors, 300 partners and 2,000 media from 160-plus countries. Our community initiatives are well underway, including women in tech, which – as always – will support our aim to reach gender parity.

The build of Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon has begun, and our teams have been onsite since Monday morning helping to put together the world’s best tech event. In total, more than 6,000 people will be involved in building the site and running Web Summit 2023, which has a total event footprint of more than 200,000 square metres.

In addition:


  • We sold more than 1,000 tickets last week and, since Saturday, have also had many new enquiries from people looking for tickets.
  • We have 2,600 startups coming – the highest number in our history.
  • We have more than 300 partners, 800 investors and 2,000 media confirmed.

a person wearing a hard hat, cargo pants and a hi-vis safety vest stands atop a ladder that's leaning against a structure made of canvas and steel
Image: Sam Lyons

a building site, with several people wearing hard hats and hi-vis safety clothing. They are at work around a modular floor that's being built on top of cobbles. There is a large modern building in the background, and a forklift  is adding a section of floor. This is outside in Lisbon, Portugal.
Image: Sam Lyons

Corporate leadership

Over the weekend, Paddy Cosgrave resigned as CEO and from the Web Summit board due to his personal comments, for which he has apologised.

Pending the appointment of a new CEO, our highly experienced management team is leading our global staff of 300 people in focusing once again on creating an event at which the companies that are building the future can meet, connect and interact with investors, innovators, global businesses, the media and a wider audience of people interested in the future of tech.

The management team is made up of:

Craig Becker, chief events officer

Craig will continue to oversee and lead on all matters relating to the operation of Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon.

Craig is one of Europe’s most experienced event producers and project managers. He has helped produce major events, from Madonna’s European tour to celebrations for HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.

Craig has been involved in Web Summit for 11 years – part of a career that spans theatre, corporate, television, music, festivals and sport.

Before joining Web Summit, Craig was involved in Live 8, The BRIT Awards, London 2012 Summer Olympics, and the FIFA Club World Cup. For 12 years, he site-managed the Hard Rock Calling and Wireless festivals in London’s Hyde Park. He has also worked on projects in Regents Park, Kensington Gardens and Greenwich Park; consulted for the 2022 World Cup; and been an important component in the success of other major music events, including V festival and numerous concerts with Foo Fighters, Blur and Beyoncé.

Mike Sexton, chief marketing technology officer

A data scientist with a PhD in physics, Mike has held a series of senior roles in his nine years at Web Summit. During his tenure, Mike has overseen the engineering department’s creation of the proprietary online platforms that allowed Web Summit to pivot to online events during the pandemic, and has led the marketing department, helping to grow the company’s flagship event from 150 attendees in 2009 to 70,000-plus in 2022.

Mike is also a graduate of the IESE Business School executive leadership programme, and of the Lisbon School of Business Economics leadership in a fast-changing environment programme.

Nida Shah, chief operating officer

Nida has been the COO since 2019, leading the finance function for four years before that. She scaled operations in the business from 50 to 300 employees. She is an ACA, CFA qualified, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

Nida worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross for several years prior to joining Web Summit.

Patrick Kirwan, chief financial officer

Patrick is a strategic financial leader with significant experience in scaling businesses, corporate M&A, and capital market transactions. He has been in this post for five years, since joining Web Summit from CarTrawler, where he was the group finance director of the globally successful tech firm. He is a qualified chartered accountant and holds a degree in commerce, accounting and business from University College Dublin.

Patrick also has extensive experience in corporate finance and audit, gleaned during an earlier career with Crowe.

Kevin McDonald, chief commercial officer

Responsible for Web Summit’s global startup, investor, partnerships sales and customer success teams, Kevin has been at Web Summit for seven years. Kevin has extensive experience working within high-growth companies. He was previously country manager for unicorn Zomato, worked as head of sales for Storyful, and also held numerous other tech firm roles.

Artur Pereira, vice president and country manager

A former board adviser to Portugal’s trade and investment agency, AICEP, Artur joined Web Summit four years ago from Cisco, where he led the Country Digital Acceleration Program, government affairs, and innovation. He holds an MBA in economics and management from the Universidade Nova de Lisbon, and started his career in banking with Banco Espirito Santo.

Brian Curran, senior vice president of speakers and media

An award-winning producer with Web Summit, Brian holds a master’s in advertising from Technological University Dublin. He has been at Web Summit for more than nine years following a career in broadcasting. As well as producing leading talks at Web Summit in Lisbon, Brian produced the first ever Sport Summit and is also lead producer for RISE, Web Summit’s Asian event.

Ronan Mooney, chief people officer

Ronan leads on all aspects of the employee experience. Over the past 15 years, Ronan has worked within various aspects of the recruitment sphere, starting his career within agency recruitment before joining Indeed.com as they developed their international operations. Ronan is passionate about finding and developing talent for scaling organisations, and has seen Web Summit more than treble in headcount since joining us in 2017.

Adam Connon, general counsel and company secretary

Adam joined the company in 2020. Prior to that, he was general counsel and board director at the Jamie Oliver Group. Adam practised in sports and media law in London with Kerman & Co LLP, working with clients including the All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon), London Marathon and UEFA.

Adam studied at National University of Ireland, Galway, and BPP Law School London, and is a solicitor qualified in England and Wales, and Ireland.

Luca Viola, chief technology officer

Starting from a degree in computer science from the University of Pisa, Luca has had 24 years’ experience in software design and engineering, including six years at ecommerce giant Lastminute.com Group. Among his achievements in his four years at Web Summit is masterminding the designs of our industry-leading conferencing software and event apps.

Katherine Farrell, vice president of communications

Katherine has spent more than eight years at Web Summit. In that time, she has built relationships with thousands of international journalists around the world, connecting them to startups, investors and political heavy-weights.

As VP of communications, Katherine oversees all external communications for the company, creating creative campaigns for our global events in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Doha, and more.

She joined the team in 2015 just after graduating from UCD Commerce International.

Main image of Lisbon skyline with São Jorge Castle: TTstudio/Shutterstock

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