Slush 2013: Embracing the cold among green lights

Publicado: diciembre 21, 2013 en Slush
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Slush, the largest start-up conference in Northern Europe and Russia, has proved to be so once again. Whether you are a young entrepreneur, a small company looking for funding, or a venture capitalist searching for the next Rovio to take off, Slush is the event you should mark in red on your calendar.

In its sixth edition, Slush has gathered over 1.000 companies and 6.000 attendees, reaching such popularity that it makes me wonder whether it’s becoming too big. Considering that Slush is an event meant for small companies it is thus somewhat ironic, but proves the fact that these companies are becoming every day more important. Many count on them to be the spark that will stir the sleepy economy and Jyrki Katainen, the Prime Minister of Finland, is among them. To put it in other words, start-ups are nowadays cooler than ever!

At 8 in the morning on November 13, Slush opened its doors to a crowd eager to do some business. The two-day conference took place in the former cable factory Kaapelitehdas, nowadays a convention centre for the most important events in Helsinki. Despite the tickets’ price (300 €, 100 € for start-ups), people from all corners of the world came together to this distant Nordic capital. As if we did not remember, the edition’s theme “Welcome to the Dark, Embrace the Cold” is a cold reminder of the bleakness the climate brings us during this time of year.

It took some time to get to the venue, but once there the first thing that struck me was the long queues lining up for “free” food or coffee. While waiting there, I asked the Slush crew if they had any tickets left. The answer was quite eloquent: tickets were still on sale for 750 €, a significant detail as to the popularity of the conference.

Inside hundreds of  booths trying to stand out from each other and curious passers-by stopping every stand, as if trying to collect the biggest number of cards regardless of whether it was related to their interests or not. Then again, once you pay a 300€ entrance ticket, you definitely should make the most of it.

Decoration included green laser lights shining above us that at times brought to mind the famous Star Wars light saber. The pitching competition and Demo showcase ended up crowning respectively Weekdone and BetterDoctor: the first an elegant application that organises weekly tasks, and the second a US doctor’s database that finds the right doctor for every case. Clever and simple ideas, both pocketed 10.000 € that day.

Lasers Slush

Lasers Slush

Before finishing, I would like to stress that Slush is run by a group of young entrepreneurs, investors, start-ups, students, and volunteers who come together with a single and unique idea: to help start-ups. When Slush was born, its creators were already saying it was the largest start-up conference in Northern Europe and Russia, even though they couldn´t prove it. Today, nobody can argue with that, but whether the chicken or the egg came first it’s hard to say. Either way, the important thing to keep in mind is that if you really believe in something, everyone else will believe it too.

Ideas can be good but it is attitude that makes them truly shine.

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