Yesterday afternoon,a surprise announcement dropped into email inboxes around the world, that the LeWeb conference series, started by Loic and Geraldine Le Meur in 2004, has been acquired by Reed MIDEM, a leading organizer of professional, international tradeshows and conferences. Loic and Geraldine declined to comment on the acquisition amount, according to TheNextWeb, though it seems that the Le Meurs will maintain a minority stake in the conference, referring to the deal as a partnership.
LeWeb has grown a lot since its first Paris event in 2004, which saw just 200 attendes – last week’s LeWeb Paris bringing in 3,500 people from 75 countries, with the first edition of LeWeb London taking place earlier this year.
I reviewed LeWeb Paris just like week in a post entitled “Getting back to its roots,” and while it seems I may have misread the Le Meur’s intention to focus on growing LeWeb across Europe, I think it’s safe to say this was a surprise for most everyone.
Paddy Cosgrave & Web Summit – The White Flag has been raised
I can imagine no one more excited at this news than Paddy Cosgrave, who has been creeping into LeWeb’s territory with their equally successful “Web Summit” series, originally spawned in Dublin. Though much younger (only a few years old), Dublin Web Summit quickly set a high bar for tech events in Europe, gathering equal levels of quality as US conferences, but still maintaining some of that European charm that US VCs and entrepreneurs come to expect when transatlantic flights are involved. Web Summit has also launched the f.ounders invite-only event for the ‘technorati,’ which has taken place with both in Dublin and New York.
Web Summit is also taking over The Europas, a European equivalent of the TechCrunch-hosted startup award ceremony “The Crunchies.”
Other large events, such as NEXT Berlin and Pioneers Festival, have also attracted similarly sized crowds, though only time will tell how these events evolve.
Two exits in one year: What’s next for Loic?
While Loic has stated that he will be at the next edition of LeWeb, taking place in London in mid 2013, it’s interesting to note that Loic sold his other business, Seesmic, just a few months earlier, making it the second ‘exit’ in one year for the French California-based entrepreneur. While he hasn’t revealed the financial details of either of the deals, it is clear that the infamous Frenchman is cleaning house, either to prepare for something new, or to take a break from being the man with all his chips on the table.
Personally, I’m happy to see the Le Meurs have a successful ‘partnership’ with Reed MIDEM. The Le Meurs built a very great conference series, recognized and praised worldwide, and I’m happy to have been able to be apart of two of them, and look forward to how it will evolve in the future.
One thing is for sure, though – there is room for a new Paris tech event!