Startups rise out of Slush
Slush, held this year for the sixth time on 13 and 14 November, is one of the most notable events in Europe for growth companies and has this year attracted more than 1 000 companies and 5 000 visitors. The event has secured its status as the meeting place for Northern European and Russian growth companies.
“It is wonderful to hear that investors and companies are finding one another,” says Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, who opened the Slush event. “As an event, Slush gives us hope that positive things are happening, despite the economic crisis. We have a lot of very talented entrepreneurs who believe they can change the world.”
Slush attracts not just leading venture capital investors, but also angel investors and serial entrepreneurs looking for investment opportunities. The two-day event will see an astonishing 3 000 rendezvous between investors and startup entrepreneurs. For companies, it is a unique opportunity to access international financing and media exposure.
“Slush is an esteemed and important event to us, and it also keeps us up-to-date on current developments,” says Mikko Kaipanen founder of the game company Ovelin. “We have released something new every time – and we will again this year.”
“In attending this event, we are not seeking anything in particular, but naturally it’s a good opportunity to meet investors and the media,” Kaipanen continues. “The most important aspect, however, is being able to see how the startup ecosystem is faring and developing in Finland. This event has grown tremendously.”
Slush also attracts heaps of international media representatives to its Cable Factory venue in Helsinki.
“The last time I was in Finland was 10 years ago, working on an article about Nokia,” says Waichi Sekiguchi, a writer for Nikkei, one of the largest newspapers in Asia. “It’s great to see that innovation is alive and well here once again.”
This year’s speakers at Slush include the world’s leading risk-fund partners: Digital Sky Technologies’ John Lindfors, Accel Partners’ Richard Wong and Index Ventures’ Francesco de Rubertis. Also taking part are big names in the Asian technology sector, such as Taizo Son, the founder and chairman of GungHo, Japan’s largest online entertainment company and one of the world’s largest video game companies.
The organiser behind Slush is Startup Sauna, a business accelerator that operates under Aalto University and which was recognised in spring 2013 as the leading young university business incubator in the world. Startup Sauna is funded by, among others, Aalto University, Tekes, the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, and Sitra.
Mikko Kaipainen of Ovelin shares his view on what is most important for a startup company at Slush.