The relationship between the Web Summit and the Irish Government has been strained since the former announced in 2015 that it was to take one of the biggest tech events in Europe from Dublin to Lisbon, as part of a three-year deal.
Now, the company that organises the event – led by its founder Paddy Cosgrave – is trying to mend relations with the hiring of an Irish Government affairs manager, but not before it announces the opening of its first office outside of Ireland.
At a conference this afternoon (26 April), Cosgrave and members of the Portuguese government officially opened the new office in Lisbon where, starting on 8 May, it will host eight Web Summit employees.
The company said that it is planning to hire 20 staff, with a focus on recruiting engineers.
As part of this, a new team dedicated to start-ups will be created, led by the Web Summit’s head of start-ups, Patrick Griffith.
Additionally, the Web Summit said prior to today’s announcement that it plans to hire twice that number in its original Dublin office, bringing its staff tally to 180.
These jobs will similarly be in the area of engineering, but also within sales and policy.
Cosgrave and the Web Summit have been bullish about the event’s success, revealing that more than 35,000 attended the first Lisbon Web Summit. This is expected to almost double to 65,000 this year.
In an attempt to heal the wounds between the Government and the Web Summit, it is understood that the smaller MoneyConf fintech event may be heading to Dublin, having been based in Madrid until now.
However, speaking with the Irish Independent, Cosgrave was coy as to whether the Web Summit itself might be moving back to Dublin in the future.
“We’re back working with the Irish Government,” Cosgrave said. “The Web Summit’s most important supporter from the start, by a wide margin, was [IDA Ireland].
“They’re back as one of our partners. There’s a lot of positivity and a lot of change. It’s an interesting time for Ireland and not just because of Brexit.”