Web Summit expands to Brazil

  • Tuesday, 03rd May 2022

  • 08:00 am

Web Summit will debut in Brazil in 2023. Rio de Janeiro will host the first edition of the technology conference in South America next year. The announcement was made Tuesday by Web Summit leader Paddy Cosgrave at a remote press conference.

The event will be called Web Summit Rio and will take place in May 2023. The country was chosen because of the “rapid expansion of the startup and technology market”, with a total of 21 unicorns and thriving early stage ecosystem.

Rio de Janeiro is presented as a startup hub that is gaining international recognition, but it’s important to remember that the capital Sao Paulo has a thriving ecosystem and startup clusters are across the country. Brazil is the only Latin American country among the top 10 unicorn markets, but LatAm has long had a thriving technology ecosystem with companies such as travel giant Despegar etc and again there’s impressive ecosystem growth across the region with Mexico in particular standing out, closely followed by the likes of Argentina, Columbia etc.

The main event of the Web Summit will continue to be in Lisbon, Portugal, from November 1st to 4th. There are also events held by the company responsible for the Web Summit in markets such as Asia and North America.

Web Summit and in particular Paddy Cosgrave in Ireland are a bit like Marmite, people tend to either love or hate, but regardless of perception, opinion or politics, the fact is that Web Summit are still an Irish headquartered company, rapidly expanding globally and dominating the tech conference space, which I’m sure even the biggest critic can agree, is a net positive for Ireland!

Having visited Lisbon for the first time whilst speaking at Web Summit, I appreciate the economic impact and ecosystem uplift effect of Web Summit being held in a city and country. I personally fell in love with Lisbon and have returned multiple times each year, including outside of Web Summit events.

I have no doubt this will happen to Rio and Brazil, with the new Web Summit event. I saw first hand on a visit there in 2020, it is an amazing city and country, but it is also very eye opening in terms of the disparity between haves and have nots, so I hope that a growing tech and startup ecosystem will create new jobs and help to create product which can address the socioeconomic inequality.

The city has a resilient and resourceful population and when I visited and spent time in the Favelas, I saw how each favela is essentially it’s own ecosystem, with creative, tenacious and super smart people building their own businesses, despite struggles and hardship.

Engineering talent has long departed Brazil and LatAm for the US and Europe and many of the diaspora are returning home to build! I also know dozens of super talented Brazilian founders, and trust me they and the Brazilian and wider LatAm ecosystem mean business, it will be great to see Web Summit shine a light on that and cross pollinate across LatAm and globally.