The global tech elite descended for the last time in Dublin for the 2016 Web Summit this week and Canadian entrepreneurs were once again there in full force.
Day one saw Vancouver-based CEOs Stewart Butterfield of Slack and Shahrzad Rafati of BroadbandTV hit the main stages and speak to standing room only audiences. Billed as ‘The Email Killer’ in a marquee, Centre Stage conversation not to be missed, Butterfield was quick to counter the narrative, saying “email will be the cockroach of the Internet.”
.@SlackHQ socks ✅. Dublin is coming for you, @Stewart. #WebSummit Day 1. 🎉☘🎉 pic.twitter.com/MSGy29R8YV
— Paddy (@ThePadman) November 3, 2015
Butterfield also remarked after his talk about how well the conference had been run. That’s saying something about a beast of an event that has seen accelerated attendance from 400 participants five years ago to a 42,000 complete sell out this year – a pace only matched by the event’s featured companies and thought leaders.
Speaking of thought leaders, Canada had brought a full contingent to Dublin. In addition to Butterfield and Rafati, Canadian investor Ray Muzyka of Calgary, and Vancouver ex-pat, Eric Migicovsky, were invited to give prominent keynotes this year as well.
Beyond speakers, Web Summit saw a huge contingent of Canadian content, with companies from across the Great White North and entrepreneurs growing companies from Newfoundland to Victoria. Continuing a tradition that began in the early days of Web Summit, a wide group of these companies came together for a #MooseBlood Canadian Tech Meetup. The largest #MooseBlood Meetup to date attracted investors, media, supporters and over 100 tech entrepreneurs who were either ‘Canadian or Canadian-at-heart.’
Over pints of Guinness, they shared stories of their success, challenges and tips to hack their way through the highly orchestrated chaos of Web Summit. From a $2 million Series A announced on site by Marketing.AI, to the rapid traction of Toronto’s EventMobi to PrintToPeer’s recent graduation from TechStars London, there was plenty of good news to celebrate.
With seemingly unstoppable growth, one of the world’s most important tech conferences will shed its Irish roots and move to Lisbon next November. And after that, the big question for all of us is, what about Canada in 2017?