Web Summit’s new mission

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Web Summit
Afrotech meetup at Web Summit 2023

Since its very beginning, Web Summit has brought together a global community of founders, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors to connect and exchange ideas about the technology and trends shaping the world. 

What started in 2009 as a 150-person gathering of tech geeks in Dublin has grown into an ecosystem of over a million people attending our flagship events in Lisbon, Toronto, Rio, Qatar, and Hong Kong. We have hosted some of the biggest names in tech alongside young entrepreneurs and next-generation thinkers for critical conversations about technology, society, and innovation. The relationships formed at Web Summit events have led to remarkable advancements, from investment opportunities to seminal partnerships to the birth of game-changing companies. 

Over the last 15 years, the world has changed in many ways, and we’ve always been committed to adapting and re-evaluating our mission and goals to meet evolving challenges, ideas, and global circumstances. We’re currently in an especially charged moment in time: AI is rapidly transforming so many aspects of how we live and work, society feels fractured and divided across multiple fault lines, and a new generation of adults is entering an uncertain economic, political, and environmental landscape. 

Against this backdrop, Web Summit wants to build stronger and more diverse communities within our broader ecosystem to facilitate meaningful connections across our global network. As Web Summit becomes bigger, our aim is, in a way, to make it smaller for our attendees. More intimate. More convivial. More community-focused. 

For years we have been building software to increase the likelihood of the right people meeting each other in the most meaningful way and helping those relationships thrive long after each event. Four years ago, amidst the global pandemic, at a time when no one could be together, we put our software to the test to increase the number of meaningful connections we create for our attendees. This became our North Star and what guided us. That mission helped us navigate the most difficult period in our history to unprecedented success. 

Now we want to supercharge that. 

Our new North Star is creating meaningful communities and connections for our attendees. Over the last year we have tested small prototype meetups for attendees in similar industries like product engineers or marketing leads. All of these were facilitated through our Web Summit app and the feedback has been incredible. People loved the opportunity to gather with others in their field. In Rio and Toronto we’ll scale our testing further. And come Web Summit in Lisbon we’ll launch for all our attendees. Every attendee who comes to Web Summit should feel part of a community. 

After all, Web Summit is merely thousands of small groups that combine into one giant Web Summit community. We will seed small communities at our events, and then help them thrive long after each event. 

We believe it is more important than ever to bring people together from across the world. We have always known that people value Web Summit for the relationships they make. Relationships that can often transform their hopes and ambitions, their careers and their lives. 

Our events will increasingly be made up of not just hundreds of thousands of attendees, but hundreds of small, vibrant and exciting communities. Our software, our design, our production and all teams and elements of Web Summit will expand to help make this worthwhile mission a reality.

Image: Sportsfile /Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)

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