The world’s largest and most popular start-up event, Slush, just completed its largest event to date in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. Hosted every year in December, Slush brings together entrepreneurs, startups, investors, VCs, journalists, government officials and many more to a packed 2-day event where new technology is unveiled, matchmaking takes place between investors and startups and millions of dollars in funding is embarked on from the Slush platform.
This year has been especially exciting since there has been a strong presence from India in the form of PrEver’s attendance with our clients Ncrypted, Softtech Engineers, Vizitech Solutions and Innov4Sight and also with the participation of a delegation from Andhra Pradesh (AP).
Slush took place on the 3rd and 4th of December but business players were already connecting before the event. For PrEver and the Indian contingent, Slush already began at the Ambassador’s dinner hosted by Her Excellency, Ms. Vani Rao, the Ambassador of India to Finland and Estonia on the 2nd of December.
The Dinner marked an important moment in history as it brought together the first and largest group of Indian companies to Slush, nearly 30 startups from India attended Slush to co-operate with Finnish institutions towards developing Indian Innovation. Finland is truly becoming a destination of importance for Indian innovation and technology.
PrEver was also part of Slush’s Pre-opening party in Kamppi with the ITC Infotech Finland team, our partner Helsinki Business Hub and L&T Infotech and an immense number of participants from around the world.
Slush has several platforms at the location where multiple events run simultaneously. The main stages are the Founders Stage, the Pink Stage and the Evergreen Stage where various talks and interactive events are held. Founders Stage features the most successful entrepreneurs from around the world. 2018 saw the stages occupied by trailblazers such as PayPal, Bob Moritz, Indian entrepreneur Anisha Singh from mydala.com, Spotify, Asana and many more.
One of the featured events of Slush is the Slush 100 Pitching Competition where early stage founders of start-ups pitch their business and product ideas and face questions by investors while doing so in front of thousands of people of Slush’s most prominent stage. The winning startup wins a significant award and the opportunity to take their product to the next level through exclusive meetups with investors, press attention and potentially a cash award. This year’s winner was Meeshkan, a company whose framework supports deep-learning via its Slack bot. Meeshkan enables teams to train several Machine Learning models at the same time without leaving the app.
Major Highlights At Slush
Slush brought out the best and latest in digitalization, AI and Robotics, Analytics, Gaming and more. This year’s event saw more than 20,000 attendees of which 1000 of them were investors and more than 3000 were startups from around the world.
Several important topics were covered at Slush ranging from Materials Innovation, AR/VR, Cryptocurrency, IoT, Blockchain, Gaming to Sustainability, Ethics, Business skills, hiring tech talent and much more.
PrEver also attended the side event hosted by Ernst and Young with Vizitech Solutions where we met with startup leaders, entrepreneurs and investors to discuss the tech ecosystems in EU, fundraising and exit plans.
This year celebrated the demo of the first autonomous car ferry by Rolls Royce, developed in the One Sea Ecosystem in Finland. Finland has a unique ecosystem for the development of autonomous ships and ship and port-related technology, This year featured many important advancements in marine technology which also have an impact on the environment through the reduction of fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Other interesting topics were regarding sources of funding with the EU with 18.7 Million euros available for funding for technology that promoted the welfare of the ‘blue economy’ i.e. the relationship between the ocean and climate change and the world.
Slush also featured the opening of a new free school for programming called Hive initiated by Supercell, the billion dollar Finnish gaming company. Hive was modelled after the success of Ecole 42, a free school for programming in Paris that gained huge success in teaching programming for free from which hundreds of students graduated and secured programming jobs. This free school is based on peer-to-peer teaching and project-based learning.
Wing, a drone delivery company announced that it would begin a pilot project to deliver packages by drones from 2019 onwards in Finland starting with the delivery of packages weight 3.3 kgs.
There were several other interesting discussions, tech revelations and a strong focus on sustainability and regard for the environment, hiring tech talent, diversity and inclusivity. Slush become the central point to over 20,000 people and uncovered and celebrated a variety of tech topics while encompassing important ethical and sustainable points. Slush is a key event that can help Indian ICT firms understand the Finnish ecosystem and how it can be leveraged to take their products to the next level of innovation and serve the global market.
According to Kunal Pandya, CEO of Encrypted:
You have to be at Slush if you are part of the start-up ecosystem. We saw Slush as a great opportunity to connect with young, energetic start-up founders having brilliant ideas and thoughts. We also connected with like-minded investors, partners and country specific pavilions to discuss possible business collaboration and investment interests. Finland has emerged as one of the world’s most innovative start-up ecosystems and the talent pool available compliments the overall purpose. After India, it has made complete sense to us to be based out in Finland than anywhere else. The best part of Finland and the start-up ecosystem here is that it is well connected, and we get the right support that we need. Helsinki Business Hub and PrEver Consulting have been instrumental in introducing Helsinki and its business cluster to us.
Slush saw a strong participation from India of which PrEver was a part and during the event many important connections and interactions took place. Looking ahead, there is still a lot of excitement to look forward to. PrEver will doubly endeavour to help Indian companies discover Finland as their ideal location for innovation and expansion. For PrEver and Indian companies, Slush is just the beginning.