How Web Summit Vancouver came to be with Casey Lau

Casey Lau Web Summit
Web Summit’s co-host is full of optimism about Vancouver’s place on the global tech stage.

This week’s episode of The BetaKit Podcast was recorded in an interview room on the show floor of the final Collision. And while we talk a little bit about what went right and wrong with the event’s tenure in Toronto, the focus is predominantly on its successor, Web Summit Vancouver.

What will the rebranded event look like? How will it be different, or similar to, Collision? How will the City of Vancouver manage the lack of hotels (and now, Airbnb locations) that hamstrung the city’s original bid for Collision?

“Is this Collision, is this RISE, is this Web Summit? I’m very confused.”

Casey Lau

Helping me to answer these questions is Vancouver-born Casey Lau, Web Summit co-host. Lau does his best to return my volleys, but it’s clear at this point that details on how all this will go down are slim. In fairness to him and the rest of the Web Summit team, detailed planning for the Vancouver edition wasn’t scheduled to begin until after Collision ended.

One certainty: the team that closed the deal for Vancouver are very excited about the next three years. During a press conference confirming what BetaKit had reported about the conference, Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim personally thanked returned Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave for the opportunity “to show the world why Vancouver is the best city on the planet.”

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With Cosgrave back as the face of Web Summit, it remains to be seen how long the good vibes last. At that same press conference, Cosgrave thanked former Toronto Mayor John Tory, but made no mention of his successor, Olivia Chow. Multiple people have speculated to me since that BetaKit’s reporting on Collision’s contract negotiations (and Cosgrave’s behaviour) added to relationship strains at the provincial and municipal levels.

Who knows. But that’s all in the past, anyway, right? Web Summit is eager to look to its future in Vancouver. So what will that future look like?

Let’s dig in.


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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Feature image courtesy Web Summit via CC BY 2.0.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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