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The world visits Slush

  • Published 16/11/2015
  • Last updated 27/11/2015
Slush in Finland has become one of the biggest and most important tech and startup conferences in Europe. People from all over the globe travel to cold and dark Helsinki with a clear ambition: Taking their business to the next level.

Even though it is only 9:30 in the morning, walking down the stairs into the exhibition hall that houses Slush feels like entering a nightclub. Dark rooms, loud electronic music and bright neon lights usually belongs to the night, but make no mistake – Slush is not about careless partying.


In what may look like a chaos of stands and people at first, there are 15.000 people from 100 different countries. Among them are 1.700 startups, 800 venture capital investors and 630 journalists. Skype co-founder Niklaz Zennström and Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake are on stage, and Swedish prince Daniel walks somewhere around in the audience. When the two days, 11 and 12 November, are over, the winner of the coveted Slush 100 pitching competition, CareMonkey, is left with an 650.000 euro investment offer.


The philosophy behind Slush, however, is still the same: To help the next generation world-leading companies make it.



Collaboration and independence


Nordic Innovation was represented both days in the Finnish capital. Wednesday, we supported Slush’s own Nordic Champions Roundtable Challenge – part of their initiative to create a common Nordic startup community. Central persons who wants to be champions for the community met and discussed the challenges and opportunities for collaborating across industries and borders.


Later the same day, we gathered the 25 teams who participate in the Nordic Independent Living Challenge. They have all developed solutions to help elderly and disabled live more independently in their own homes, and had the opportunity to demonstrate their solutions at GE Healthcare’s side event. Among the crowd where several international investors and other health and welfare entrepreneurs.


See what team AssiStep took home from the experience:



Journalists and hackers

Thursday, we facilitated a meetup for the Nordic startup media group we support – a network of Nordic journalists and media that writes about the startup scene. They updated each other on their initiatives and had a visit from Johan Brand and Åsmund Grytting from Kahoot, who talked about their experience being entrepreneurs in the Nordics.


The only official Slush event organised by Nordic Innovation happened the same day, when the Nordic Open Data Challenge went down at the Pitching stage. Six teams had won participation in the competition though national hackathons during the Nordic Open Data Week earlier this year. Norwegian teams Biocaching and H4O, as well as Danish team SpaceInvaders, ended up as winners of 50.000 NOK.


Kahoot's Johan Brand talks to Nordic startup journalists

 Biocaching receives prize in the Nordic Open Data Challenge

(Above: Kahoot's Johan Brand and Åsmund Grytting. Below: Biocaching wins the Nordic Open Data Challenge)


The Nordics on the agenda

Several other events in this year’s Slush also had a Nordic angle. Especially interesting were the “Nordic Showcase” session, where some of the most promising Nordic tech startups presented themselves on the main stage on Wednesday.


When we substituted the darkness of the exhibition hall for the darkness of the Helsinki night late Thursday, it was hard to not feel excited about the interesting stuff going on in the Nordic region – and that the perhaps most interesting stuff happen on a cross-Nordic level. 


Slush 2015 crowd