Nine Web Summit attendees… And what you can learn from them

More than 32,000 people are travelling to Web Summit from right across the globe. They’ll be coming together in Lisbon in November for what’s sure to be four days of legendary networking. 

You can check out our attendees over on our featured attendees page. You can also meet nine below, and find out what you can learn from them. 

Monsignor Paul Tighe – Communications – The Vatican


  • Travelling 2,489.4 km from the Vatican City

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

Simple answer – because I was invited! I am delighted to accept the invitation because, coming from Dublin originally, I have been hearing very positive things about Web Summit for a number of years.  I am very pleased to get the chance to experience it for myself.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit?

My particular interest is in understanding how the web and social media are disrupting established social and cultural dynamics – the ways in which people communicate, are educated, form opinions, maintain relationships and establish community are all changing.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in bringing social media to the Vatican?

It would be wrong to claim to have brought social media to the Vatican but I was lucky enough to be part of the small team that convinced our senior leaders to develop a coherent digital presence. One of the biggest challenges was to demonstrate that the digital environment is not some sort of ‘virtual’ world that is somehow less ‘real’ than the physical world.  As a Church, we needed to recognise that those who have come of age with digital communications do not live with strong distinctions between their online and their offline experiences. A more practical challenge was to persuade our senior, and older, management to continue with the Pope’s presence on Twitter notwithstanding some rather crude and hateful reactions in the initial month. 

Adrienne Yandell – Founder & CEO – Work4Good


      • Travelling 6,013.5 km from Jordan

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

Web Summit draws a huge and international crowd and I’m looking forward to meeting people and companies from around the world who I otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit? 

I’m hoping to learn about emerging tech innovations that can enable humanitarian organisations to be more effective in our response to the refugee response.

With Work4Good, what are the biggest challenges you face while trying to help refugees reintegrate into the workforce?

The biggest challenge in refugee workforce reintegration has been identifying and closing the skill gap between the clearly demonstrated raw talent and refugees’ realised workforce capabilities. In general, refugees’ professional talents have either lapsed during their journey or were underdeveloped in the first place by poor education systems and oppressive regimes. While it will take time, partnerships with educators, mentors, and dedicated employers will be greatly rewarded as refugees rebuild their lives and lend their talents to growing their host nations’ economy.

Ted Chung – CEO – MERRY JANE

A message from Snoop Dogg – Ted manages Snoop, and has partnered with him for MERRY JANE

Travelling 9,115 km from Los Angeles  

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

To educate and inspire those who will impact our collective future on the social and economic benefits of the cannabis industry, as we have experienced in the United States. is the definitive voice of the community. The global audience at Web Summit are the next group to be impacted by the cultural renaissance of cannabis.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit?

How can media, content, and information in the cannabis lifestyle space proliferate in the app and online space via companies that share a philosophical belief in liberating our countries from antiquated beliefs. And what are like-minded game changers doing to create new streams of tax revenue for our governments and safer medical treatments that don’t depend on damaging synthetic pharmaceuticals.

What’s the biggest difference between public perception of cannabis now and ten years ago?

In the States, there has been a complete paradigm shift where government and society have reaped the quantifiable benefits of cannabis as an industry. $1 billion dollars in legal sales in Colorado alone were taxed at a 30 percent rate, which created a surplus the state has never seen before – much of that went to public education. In the medical and recreational states such as Washington D.C., California, Colorado, and Washington- Cannabis retail stores and cultivation centres are as omnipresent on every corner as Starbucks Coffee.

Sara Usinger – Programme Manager – Avatech


      • Travelling 6,531.4 km from Tehran

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

I am looking forward to meeting entrepreneurs from all over the world, attend sessions and see what I can learn for what I am doing here in Iran. I want to understand the topics that could play a bigger role in Iran in the near future.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit? 

My biggest goal is to better understand how ecosystems work around the world and what we can implement in Iran to help moving our ecosystem to the next level.

What’s the most surprising thing about working in a startup accelerator in Iran?

I am living and working in Iran for almost two years now and the most surprising thing for me was probably how similar startups are around the world. How similar the struggles are and the challenges founders face.

Alex Klein – Co-Founder & CEO – Kano

Travelling 1,584 from London

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

To speak about Kano’s computer and coding kit for all ages, and how we can demystify and democratise low-cost computing in this decade. The technology community must not be a closed dojo or ivory tower. We must speak in many tongues and provide tools – not just toys.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit?

I want to learn more about contemporary machine learning techniques and how they might add more humanism to digital services. Breaking their black box logic open and educating everyday people to manipulate AI is a key part of a more participatory future. I’m also interested in meeting people who are building big, consumer-facing businesses beyond the Valley.

Kano wants to spark a lifelong passion for computing and the arts. What sparked your passion?

The Matrix. A world built from symbols, where the thinker can craft his own reality. Also, theatre camp and William Shakespeare.

Antonio Sorrentini – Founder & CEO – MElely


  • Travelling 2,129.7 km from Milan

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

We recognised in Web Summit an important opportunity for networking. For a project like ours, it’s important to involve other people emotionally to encourage them to join our adventure.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit? 

Everything is possible ! We expect to learn a lot from the speakers, and we are sure we’ll meet some kindred spirits: people who truly believe in the potential of tech.

MElely is all about helping people express their uniqueness. How do you express yours?

We express our uniqueness by making choices that derive from the values and beliefs we follow, rather than by what others expect from us. We’re living a silent, but inexorable revolution. We just call it MEvolution. We love it, we want to lead it.

Lucy Crook – Founder – Hotpod Yoga Lisbon

Lucy B+W 3

A Lisbon local

Why are you coming to Web Summit?

I was really pleased when I heard Web Summit would be coming to Lisbon. I moved here a year ago from London. The city is such a dynamic and inspiring place to be at the moment and we’re really looking forward to welcoming you all in November.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit? 

I’ve been pouring over the website and all the amazing speakers you have lined up already – it’s going to be hard to choose between them! I’m particularly interested in health tech and sport, but very much looking forward to four inspiring days and soaking up as much as I can.

How can yoga help people at startups?

As I have a startup myself, I know how all consuming it can be to get a project off the ground. It’s easy to work day and night and lose a sense of balance. Setting aside even 15 minutes of yoga or meditation a day really helps to calm and focus the mind so you can operate at your best.

Ksenia Nekrasova – Data Specialist – Google


      • Travelling 2,631.8 km from Hamburg

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

I am looking forward to the event and networking possibilities it provides. That’s the biggest factor for me.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit? 

As a data specialist at a large corporation, I see lots of fragmentation and the inefficiencies it creates, especially around combining data points from different sources and making it actionable. I would like to explore some solutions to this.

What’s the one tech trend you’d like to see die?

Verticalisation and narrow focus is definitely something I argue against. All problems can be aligned, saving us time on resolution by joint sharing work.

Lucas Di Grassi – Endurance Racing Driver – Audi Sport 

Lucas_Di_Grassi_2010_Malaysia (1)

      • Travelling 1,835.7 km from Monaco

Why are you making the trip to Web Summit?

I really admire many of the speakers and it is a honour for me take part in it.

What do you hope to learn at Web Summit? 

Web Summit is a great way to expose my ideas and connect with people with the same mindset.

What is the toughest part of endurance racing?

My challenges as a race driver are similar to a company: I need good people to support me and to create a winning team. Endurance racing is all about team work and good people pushing for the same goal.

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