Web Summit says it is dealing with ‘very small number’ of refund requests

Ticket prices start at €1,095 for general attendees

Tech conference Web Summit is dealing with a “very small number” of refund requests for its upcoming Lisbon event on a “case-by-case basis”, the company said.

Ticket prices start at €1,095 for general attendees at the event, ranging up to almost €25,000 for access to VIP forums, lounges and evening receptions.

Web Summit is due to take place in Portugal in three weeks’ time, but a number of investors and partners have pulled out of participating in the event in the past week, due to comments made on social media on the Israel-Hamas conflict by co-founder and former chief executive Paddy Cosgrave.

The comments led to the withdrawal of Intel, Siemens, Google, Meta, Stripe and Amazon Web Services from the event, along with a number of high-profile investors such as Y Combinator’s Garry Tan, and Israeli tech start-ups.


A spokeswoman for Web Summit said there had been a small number of requests for ticket refunds for a “variety of reasons” that would be dealt with in line with its terms and conditions, but did not specify how many – if any – were linked to the controversy.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Cosgrave had said he was “shocked at the rhetoric and actions” of western leaders in support of Israel, “with the exception in particular of Ireland’s Government, who for once are doing the right thing”.

Last Tuesday, the Irish tech entrepreneur issued a lengthy apology where he accepted earlier comments on the Israel-Hamas conflict several days before had caused “profound hurt”.

“To anyone who was hurt by my words, I apologise deeply,” he said. “What is needed at this time is compassion, and I did not convey that. Web Summit has a long history of partnership with Israel and its tech firms, and I am deeply regretful that those friends were hurt by any of what I said.”

Mr Cosgrave subsequently resigned, saying his personal comments had “become a distraction”. He has also stepped down from the Web Summit board. He owns 81 per cent of Manders Terrace Ltd, the company behind the Web Summit.

This has left the company without a chief executive ahead of one of its largest events. The spokeswoman said Web Summit is currently being led by its executive team and board until a permanent replacement is appointed.

Will co-hosting Euro 2028 be of any real benefit to Irish football?

Listen | 48:25

The company said the Lisbon event would go ahead with “a full programme”, including speakers, mentor hours and the night summit.

“Some partners were deliberating and have come back on board and reversed their decision,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

The spokeswoman did not give specifics about which partners had reconsidered. However, she said the event had sold about 1,000 attendee tickets in the past week.

The conference in Lisbon is scheduled to take place from November 13th to 16th.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist