Web Summit 2013 preview: What to expect in Dublin

Web Summit, one of Europe's largest and most popular technology festivals, is poised to kick off in Dublin.

Dubbed "Davos for geeks" and "Europe's SXSW," Web Summit features an exciting mixture of established companies and rising ventures, with Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, SAP, PayPal, VMware, Microsoft, Adobe, Rackspace and AOL among the big names set to touch down shortly.

In total, the Irish capital will welcome more than 10,000 attendees drawn from 80-plus countries to the sold out shindig, which runs 30-31 October at the RDS Main Hall in Ballsbridge.

Specific names to look our for on the main stage include WordPress developer Matt Mullengweg, security gurus Eugene Kaspersky and Graham Cluley, and Cisco CTSO Padmasree Warrior. Adding further intrigue to this can't miss event, Hyperloop dreamer Elon Musk was added to the Web Summit cast at the last minute.

They will be joined by a bevy of startup stars, including HotelTonight CEO and co-founder Sam Shank, Indiegogo CEO and co-founder Slava Rubin, Taykey founder and CEO Amit Avner, and Leap Motion founder Michael Buckwald.

But Web Summit is more than just a roundup of tech luminaries. In addition to the various industry bigwigs, the event also features an eclectic assortment of 'off-piste' speakers, ranging from legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk to Ireland rugby star Jamie Heaslip, and Vice founder Shane Smith.

Complementing Web Summit 2013's world-class speaker lineup is an extensive programme dedicated to startups. One focal point is the ESB Spark of Genius competition, which sees 30 top-tier startups partake in an intensive day of pitching, before a winner is announced as 'Ireland's best startup' and awarded €25,000 (£21,400) plus extra goodies on Thursday afternoon (31 October).

Another highlight is the Alpha programme startup village, which offers promising early-stage ventures the opportunity to exhibit at Web Summit virtually for free - big name companies pay nearly €10,000. Sound like just another identikit startup showcase? Some Web Summit alumni include Vine, Hailo, Coursera, Waze, and Stripe. Yeah, we thought we might have your attention now.

Away from the conference floor, Web Summit is all about the craic, featuring a full suite of networking and social activities, from the obligatory Dublin pub crawl to the Good Food Ireland Food Summit. The Food Summit, which runs in tandem with Web Summit, will dole out more than 400,000 tastings of artisan Irish food and drink over the course of the conference. Another nail in the coffin for soggy prawn sandwiches, it would seem.

Finally, on the fringes of Web Summit is the Dubstarts jobs fair, a pioneering event aiming to connect students and recent graduates with job vacancies in the Irish startup scene. Taking place at the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin 2, more than 3,000 people are expected to attend Dubstarts, with some 150 jobs up for grabs.

Never content to watch from the sidelines, ITProPortal is hopping over to Dublin to see Web Summit 2013 in the flesh. Further stormy weather and delays notwithstanding, you can join us from 30 October to follow all the action - from keynotes and pitching competitions to exclusive one-to-one interviews - via our Web Summit 2013 live updates blog.