Slush is a startup and tech event organized annually in Helsinki, Finland. The specific goal of Slush is to arrange meetings between investors and startup founders. The event is not for profit and is organized by a community of entrepreneurs, investors, students, and festival organizers. The event initially started in 2008 with 300 attendees. This year 2017, Slush hosted around 20,000 attendees from more than 130 countries. There were 2,600 startups and 1,500 investors exploring matching opportunities. In addition to the main Slush event held in Helsinki, there are additional Slush events held in Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore.
Dealna.com’s team participated in Slush 2017 which was held on November 30th and December 1st in Helsinki, Finland.
In addition to panel discussions, presentations and exhibitions, the event includes a pitching competition where 100 startups compete to win the grand prize which consists of Slush Global Pass, giving the winner access to all Slush events around the world in 2018, flights offered by Finnair, and a massive service package consisting of consultancy from PwC, developer services from Google, legal service from Dottir, and PR services from San Francisco Oy. Runner ups receive service packages from these partners too.
After an impressive opening show, the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö commenced the event with a short speech followed by a speech by the former Vice President of the United States Albert Gore. Al Gore talked about the importance of tackling climate change on a global level. For that, Al Gore said that it is important for us as humans to be able to change. “The will to change is itself a renewable resource”, he added.
Following these speeches, activities of Slush 2017 started. The massive venue included several stages where panels discussions and presentations were held. We present here a few highlights.
Corporate venture capital has been an unstable market over decades but it offers many benefits such as investor patience and access to big markets. Wall Street legend and Founder of Ellevest, Sallie Krawcheck, Vice President of Salesforce Ventures, Matt Garrat and CEO and Managing Partner of Silicon Foundry, Neal Hansch discussed how CVC can help startups and how startups should approach CVS’s in pitching. They explained that startups should figure out who are the most important partners in their ecosystem then approach them for CVC funding. When pitching for CVC, startups need to explain how their offering can help corporate customers or help the corporate achieve its targets more efficiently. They need to focus on explaining how they can establish a long-term meaningful relationship with the company financing them.
Centralized financial systems and a centralized web are threatening privacy and democracy. Fortunately, two technologies offer new hope: Crypto-currencies decentralize finance and the third wave of the web (web3) is being built on decentralized platforms like Ethereum. This discussion is led by security expert and crypto author Andreas M. Antonopoulos. Together with him on the stage are Pamela Morgan, Founder & CEO of Third Key Solutions, and Jutta Steiner, Founder of Parity Technologies. The speakers explained why choosing decentralized systems benefits businesses and society as a whole. Centralizing data requires significant costs in collecting data and keeping data secure. There are also significant risks in centralizing data. In cases of hacks or leaks, the affected company can suffer serious damage or even cease to exist as a result. Decentralizing data mitigates these risks. The speakers concluded by “the only way to secure data is to not collect and store data in the first place.”
Day 2 continued with many panels discussions and presentations. We present here a few.
AR & VR have been hyped for quite a long now but we’re still waiting for the mass commercialization. What have been the difficulties that have slowed them from really entering the market? Amitt Mahajan, Managing Partner at Presence Capital was leading the conversation. With him on stage are Hironao Kunimitsu, Founder and CEO of gumi and Eiji Araki, Head of GREE VR Studios. The three came to the conclusion that one of the main reasons that slowed down mass commercialization of VR is the limited investments being made in creating the content. Most investors are interested in investing in the platforms and the tools that are used to create the VR experience, but not much interested in investing in creating the content. Consumers in the end are looking for good content to enjoy using VR. When not enough content is available, people will naturally not buy VR equipment which slows down mass commercialization.
Slush 100 is a pitching competition that runs over the two days of the event. 100 startups compete over 3 rounds with the best 3 startups reaching the final round. The winner receives great attention from investors, media, potential partners and future team members – not to forget the prize which consists of Slush Global Pass and a massive service package consisting of consultancy services from various world leading experts. Runner ups receive consultancy service packages too. The three startups reaching the final round are:
AdLaunch created an algorithm that allows you to create professional promotional videos faster and easier to market your business. The user enters keywords and uploads pictures and videos or use the available stock footage clips. The service then automatically creates a professional promotional video that is ready to use. The mechanism behind this algorithm is that it scans a massive number of YouTube videos to understand the elements that make up a viral video. It then uses these elements to create a similar video that is more likely to go viral.
Altum Technologies is the first and only company to use focused power ultrasound to remove fouling from industrial equipment with no production stoppages and no equipment disassembly. The soon to be patented device is installed on industrial equipment such as pipes and heat exchangers. The device is able to detect the dirty areas inside the pipe and uses focused power ultrasound to remove the fouling without the need to disassemble the pipe to clean it from the inside. The device can also be operated remotely from company offices.
ObjectBox is an easy object-oriented database for small devices. It enables app developers to devote their valuable time to what makes their apps stand out and not on storing and retrieving data. ObjectBox is designed for mobile. It is an object-oriented embedded database and a full alternative for SQLite. It is also well-suited for IoT. ObjectBox is optimized for performance and designed to save app developers from dealing with SQL. The resulting performance advantages are impressive. With ObjectBox, this startup is bringing technology from NoSQL databases to mobile.
After intense moments, the judges voted for the winning team which is Altum Technologies. This startup has impressed many with its innovative solution which can save factories millions of euros annually by not having to shut down production to clean the industrial equipment.
With the winner of Slush 100 announced, the event came to an end. Slush 2018 will be held on December 4th-5th in Helsinki, Finland.