Taking LeWeb to another level

LeWeb

The announcement a few days ago that the LeWeb conference has been acquired by Reed MIDEM marks a significant milestone in the evolution of an annual event that has become the public networking platform of choice for big business, entrepreneurs, tech start-ups, politicians and anyone else with a keen interest in where the international internet ecosystem is going and who’s taking it there.

LeWeb is unquestionably the leading European conference focused not only on the web, but also more broadly on that fascinating intersection that connects people, tech and possibilities. It was founded by French entrepreneur, Loic Le Meur, as Les Blogs.

I remember the first one in April 2005 in Paris, in which I participated. There were a little over 250 people there (see some of the photos). I moderated a panel discussion on podcasting at Les Blogs 2.0 in December that year. That second one had over 600 people.

With the event renamed as LeWeb in 2006, things have scaled up hugely over the years since, in line with growth in internet use, awareness and mainstream penetration. It took a big step forward this past June with the first one outside France – LeWeb London.

LeWeb 2012, held last week in Paris as usual, had almost 3,500 attendees plus the thousands who participated from afar, virtually via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other places across the social web. LeWeb 2012 also used Google+ Hangouts on Air as an integral element of the conference (as they did for the London event), and I participated in three of those parachuting in, as it were, in live video from the UK.

So news that a big event producer, part of the Anglo-Dutch Reed Elsevier group, has acquired LeWeb doesn’t come as a surprise, From the press release:

[…] Commenting on the acquisition, Reed MIDEM Chief Executive Officer Paul Zilk said, “LeWeb fits very well with Reed MIDEM. We share the same ambition for developing premium international events where participants network and build relationships, do business, launch new products and discover the latest innovations.

“Loic and Geraldine Le Meur are true international internet entrepreneurs and they have done an outstanding job in building LeWeb. Thanks to their expertise and Reed MIDEM’s strength in international events, I am convinced that together we will take LeWeb to new heights.

“LeWeb’s strong position in digital innovation and entrepreneurship is relevant to Reed MIDEM events and to the global portfolio of our group, Reed Exhibitions.  We see many opportunities and synergies between our shows and LeWeb

Congratulations to the Le Meurs and, indeed, to Reed MIDEM for a smart acquisition.

And a final word from the LeWeb 2012 wrap-up blog post:

[…] We’re so honored to have so many truly talented entrepreneurs from all over the world join us for LeWeb.  Next up is LeWeb London in June. LeWeb is a unique event that draws different tech communities, but will always have the same high standards for speakers, attendees and the event as a whole.

I can’t wait to see where Loic and his new colleagues will take LeWeb next.