Outside, the lilting flurries of snow that greeted attendees at the entrance of Slush were a fitting opening curtain to kick off proceedings for day two.
Inside the Exhibition Centre, however, things were heating up. Funding was the trending word of the day, with at least three big financing rounds announced. Walking away with the most significant fattening of wallets was Canatu, who followed up its 22-million-euro booty from last year to the tune of a further 12-million euros.
“These significant strategic investments coupled with partnerships enable Canatu to accelerate product development, further develop the mass production automatization, fasten market expansion, and expand to new strategic product areas,” says Canatu CEO Juha Kokkonen, in a press release. “This funding also strengthens our global geographical presence especially in Asia and Europe.”
Meanwhile, Finnish medtech company Fimmic closed a five-million-euro investment round to accelerate scaling of its WebMicroscope AI Cloud for tissue diagnostics.
“Our AI algorithms have been successfully used in various applications ranging from cancer research to drug development projects on Parkinson’s disease and liver diseases,” said CEO Kaisa Helminen, in a press release.
Diversity on offer
Finally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool Iris.ai announced it had closed a two-million-euro round. With founders from Finland, Norway, Bulgaria/Sweden and Spain, the company helps researchers in industry and academia to find relevant scientific knowledge by semi-automating the process.
“We want to get to a point where any driven individual with a big problem to solve can collaborate with our AI researcher to quickly establish what interdisciplinary solutions already exist, and what still needs to be discovered,” said Anita Schjøll Brede, in a release. “Our human brains can only hold so much information – we need a machine to collaborate with us on this!”
Issues regarding AI were of a different kind over on the Founder Stage. The secretary of state for digital affairs for France, Mounir Mahjoubi, underlined a necessary development needed to grease the wheels for the development of AI.
“Diversity will unbias AI,” he said. “At the moment there is 100 per cent men [in the sector].”
Elsewhere, the topics on offer had decidedly more diversity – typically eclectic. CEO of Blinkist Holger Seim underlined the importance of creating consumer subscriptions.
“It’s more and more important to have members than subscribers,” he stated, “to create the notion of belonging.
Finally, one of the most anticipated speakers, at least among the petrol heads in the audience, was Finnish Formula 1 great Mika Häkkinen, who took a trip down memory lane.
“Early in my career I thought I was the best,” he recalled. “The day I realised I had so much to learn was when I was next to Ayrton Senna.”
Seven years later Häkkinen won his first Formula 1.
As for what will happen to Slush in seven years, the only way is… even further up.