The main event: VC funding with a twist

Web Summit

When is a VC firm not a VC firm? When it’s an events company. Dublin-based Web Summit is the first conferences company to launch a venture capital fund.

For Web Summit, which runs one of the largest tech events in Europe, data is king. Its founders invested early in building a data science team, developing matchmaking algorithms and video capture systems to track attendees’ movements throughout the rapidly growing eponymous event.

This has proved a smart move. The fund, which has a $50m (€43.7m) target and is named Amaranthine, aims to exploit the masses of data it continues to gather on the thousands of punters and start-ups that pass through the conference.

This mine of information can show emerging trends, for example, which start-ups are garnering the most attention. This data-first strategy will also be a compelling draw for tech founders looking for insights and to tap Web Summit’s vast network of industry contacts.