Web Summit plans VC fund to leverage startup data from its mega conference

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From Web Summit’s very inception, conference organizers have utilized a sophisticated data operation to build it into one of the world’s largest technology events. Now the group behind the conference plans to use that same foundation of information to launch a seed stage venture fund.

According to a report today in the Financial Times, the Web Summit organization has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to create a $50 million venture capital fund called Amaranthine.

“We help some companies in a really huge way for three days,” Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave told the paper. “What about the other 362 days?”

According to the report, Web Summit will leverage the massive amount of information it gathers on the thousands of startups and attendees who come through the event, which kicks off today in Lisbon, Portugal. Organizers just recently signed a deal to keep the conference in Lisbon for another 10 years.

Started in Dublin, the event relocated to Lisbon in 2016 after it outgrew its hometown. From a modest start of 400 attendees in 2011, it quickly grew to 22,000 by 2014 and to the more than 60,000 expected this week in Lisbon.

The Web Summit’s founders invested early in building a data science team, developing matchmaking algorithms and video capture systems to track movement throughout the event.

That has created a treasure trove of information that the new venture fund can use to identify hot startups, according to the Financial Times report.

The paperwork for the fund was originally filed back in May. It lists Patrick Murphy, who had previously been at Goldman Sachs, and Web Summit cofounder David Kelly as general partners. While the existence of San Francisco-based Amaranthine was previously known, it’s connection with the Web Summit was not widely known.

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Source: VentureBeat

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