Today, Web Summit kicked off its first in-person conference in two years, welcoming 42,751 attendees from 128 countries. For the first time in the event’s 10-year history, there are more women than men in attendance.
42,751 attendees, and counting, from 128 countries – 50.5% women.
At what is the biggest gathering in tech since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event sold out on Sunday after reaching capacity – due to Covid restrictions, down from 70,469 in 2019.
For the first time in the event’s 10-year history, there are more women attending than men. 50.5% of attendees this year are women. This percentage has been rising since 2016 after the launch of Web Summit’s Women in Tech initiative. The company has seen representation grow to this from 45.8% in 2020 and 46.3% in 2019.
Canadians remain under-represented at Web Summit despite hosting Collision, Web Summit’s “sister” event in Toronto. Grit Daily heard from Jared Linzon and Techstars’ Sunil Sharma at the event.
Frances Haugen calls for Mark Zuckerberg’s resignation
Over the four-day event, 748 speakers will deliver 1,333 talks, including firesides, Q&As, keynotes, roundtables and masterclasses. Among these speakers was, arguably, 2021’s biggest name in tech, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who called for Mark Zuckerberg’s resignation at her keynote session at Web Summit’s Opening Night on Monday (November 1) evening. Facebook (now Meta) chief product officer Chris Cox will speak at the event via the metaverse on Wednesday, and Meta VP of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg will speak remotely on Tuesday.
1,519 startups and 872 investors
1,519 startups will participate in the event, making Web Summit the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in the world this year. Thousands of founders will meet with 872 investors for dealmaking, alongside pitching competitions, roundtables and masterclasses. As of Monday night, the most requested startups by investors were: Finoa, GuestReady, Contents.com, Payaut, and EcoTree.
70 unicorns will appear on stage throughout the event – the largest number at Web Summit to date – more than two dozen of which have become unicorns since the beginning of the pandemic, including Sorare, Personio, Kry, and Workato.
500,000 connection requests
By Opening Night, there had already been 500,000 connection requests sent in the app. Networking at the event is powered by Web Summit’s proprietary software, Summit Engine, which was licensed to customers for the first time this year. The United Nations ran a UNDP programme event in March using Summit Engine and, last week, it was announced that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas will use Web Summit’s technology for its event in January 2022.
Food Summit and Food Festival
Food Festival will have seven Michelin star chefs cooking for VIP attendees at Forum, with one-star (Luis Barradas, Hugo Nascimento, Diogo Rocha, Justa Nobre and Bertílio Gomes) and two-star (Rui Paula and Ricardo Costa) chefs serving up dishes..
Food Summit is made up of 50+ food trucks around the event venue, serving everything from empanadas to regional Portuguese wines. 200,000 cups of coffee will be served, and attendees will consume around 152 tonnes of food.