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Exclusive Interview: Paddy Cosgrave

May 20, 2015 - Added by Sync IE     656 views     0 likes     0 comments
It's been called “the best technology conference on the planet”, attracting 20000 attendees, the Web Summit is huge! You can understand why the NI tech scene was pretty excited when the organisers revealed that they would be bringing two conferences to Belfast this June. Earlier this month Sync NI g...  more

Why did you decide to go with particular themes for the upcoming conferences in Belfast?

At the Web Summit we now have separate summits and the biggest one last year was the enterprise summit, it experienced the most amount of growth in 2014 so it felt right to create a standalone enterprise conference. And Moneyconf, the sheer amount of banking and payment-based startups at the web summit are testament to the interest in financial technology.

In the first year it’s not about how big the events are, it’s all about quality. We are determined to start the conferences with really awesome speakers and relevant themes.

The Web Summit attracts an international audience. Will it be the same for Moneyconf & Enterconf?

They will be international. Even though we have switched the model to invite only, which will allow us to get all the right people, I think anybody from Northern Ireland who applies will be welcome. Even if it’s just that curious Butcher who’s wondering whether he should accept Bitcoin in his business!

In terms of people coming from further afield we are just going to focus on getting the right people in the room.

The NI startup scene is booming. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs hoping to make the most of the conferences in Belfast?

I have three pieces of advice. Hustle, hustle, hustle! I remember in 2012 a startup from the US came over to the Web Summit and for everyday they spent in Dublin they spent three days of preparing. They had a strict rule…no sleep until the flight home. They stopped at nothing to ensure they met the right people and had great conversations, they muscled like crazy! Don’t expect the best investor in the room to come and find you …you need to work for it.

The location, T13, why did you choose it?

Our production manager, Sinead, has produced some of the biggest music festivals in UK and Ireland. She has a good sense for cool venues.

What is it about Web Summit that catches people’s attention?

We are not boring! I had never organised a conference before Web Summit but I had been to loads of music festivals and the sense of fun at these was inspiration for the Web Summit. You have to keep it interesting, like the content on stage, you should not let people talk for any longer than 15 minutes. Also the Web Summit is not 9-5, it’s from 9am right around the clock. We encourage our attendees to be social, go for dinner and network! During the early mornings of the Web Summit I look on my Twitter feed and see these great entrepreneurs posting kebab selfies at 6.30 in the morning and then they go to their stand at 9. I admire that kind of energy.

Will Enterconf & Moneyconf be returning to Belfast after 2015?

Yes, if it goes well and the city works, of course! I think Belfast is one of the smallest, vibrant and most joined together places. It’s a young city and everybody is rooting for Belfast to succeed. We base all our decisions on attendee feedback so we are looking forward to hearing what people think of the events.

This article is featured in the Sync NI Spring magazine.