We love startup events. This year we’ve already been to Infoshare in Gdańsk, Pioneers’19 in Vienna, and finishing off the year with Slush in Helsinki. Must admit- the Finns sure know how to throw an event! Top notch organizing, perfect choice of speakers and mind blowing audio-visual setting, all made Slush really stand out. For any startup, investor or anyone interested in the latest in tech, Slush is an absolute must.
What is Slush?
Slush is one of the top European tech startup events. The event’s main focus is bringing together startups and investors, who can, with the help of a matchmaking app, set-up meetings with each other. Although Finland is Slush’s home country, it has taken place in a few hot spots around the world, namely Tokyo and Shanghai, with an on-tour side event Slush Small Talks visiting Hyderabad, Berlin and Stockholm .
Slush neon vibe
The whole event’s atmosphere was very fresh, relaxed with a futuristic vibe and truly breathtaking visuals. Words won’t give it justice, but maybe the few photos below will help you get the idea. The event hall was engulfed in complete darkness with neon lights defining the layout of all the event areas and paths to follow.
The stages were prepared as if for world class rock-stars, with lights, lasers and what have you. Same amount of care and attention to detail was applied to the startup zones, making the entire event hall looking more like rock festival grounds than a startup/investor gathering.
The whole event organizing deserves highest praise. It seemed like the whole city was for the couple of days fully dedicated to Slush and its attendees. Starting from the airport and numerous other locations around Helsinki, where you could register for the event, pick up your tickets and all necessaries coming with it, including a free PT ticket for the time of the event letting you travel around the finnish capital without limits, all the way to the perfectly prepared venue.
As for the event itself – perfectly prepared, spacious event areas, stages located accordingly, with all amenities – from cloakrooms, restrooms, through to food areas and water stations all fully accessible and ready to receive the estimated 25,000 strong crowd – we were never made to wait in queues or had any issues finding our way around. The only time when you could really see and feel how huge the whole thing was, was at the event’s end, when the sea of people crowded to pick up their coats on the way out. Still, for the size of it, I’d say it went super smooth.
Over 2,000 volunteers were engaged in organizing the two-day event. You could count on them whenever you needed information, help setting up, get refreshments or anything else. Their hard work allowed startups to go about their business and tasks nice and smooth. All the event areas were kept clean and tidy throughout the event. Particular focus was put on the environment with omnipresent recycling bins and volunteers taking care of all the waste being disposed of accordingly.
Talks and speakers
Slush is an event that truly focuses on startups and offers real value to all those hoping and working on making it big one day . The speakers and the topics covered were selected in a way so that they reciprocated perfectly with the issues and challenges most startups, but also developed businesses are facing. There was no annoying marketing, salesy push or empty conversations that often mar other startup events.
Instead, we had real professionals, from established businesses, some of whom started small, others from established, respectable brands. The choice of speakers was phenomenal, with every single presentation giving deep, interesting insight into the reality of building startups. You could learn about all the dos and don’ts, strategies, risks and pitfalls. The wisdom shared by experienced entrepreneurs and seasoned once-startupers was invaluable. None of the talks and presentations we attended was a disappointment.
Matchmaking tool and networking
Easy and well organized networking was perhaps Slush’s strongest point. With over 19000 participants registered in the Matchmaking Tool’s database, you could expect glitches and ensuing chaos in arranging meetings. No such thing happened. Setting up 1 on 1’s and networking was smooth and easy. Same can be said about the organizing of networking space. The meeting spots were very clearly marked and plenty, making it easy to both find your designated area, space to talk, and most importantly – find the person you were meant to meet.
This year’s Slush was really interesting and engaging. I think everyone attending found good value and as for me, there was no time to get bored. Two days in an amazingly prepared hall, packed with startups, investors, speakers and organizing that really stood out, make Slush a world class startup event you just can’t afford to miss. If you have any doubts about the value of the event, take it from me – it’s definitely worth it!