Anyline goes North: Slush 2015
Together with about 15.000 people from exactly 100 different countries, we’ve got the chance to visit Helsinki and Slush from November 11-12. A tech conference turned rock festival, an exhibition center turned DJ and party stage, a city turned tech hub. Without comparing to any other conference or event, we’d like to state in the beginning that it definitely was one of the best events we’ve ever visited with Anyline.
So what does “Slush” mean?
In Finnish “slush” translates to “loska” and in both languages the words describe “wet snow” – the kind of watery and slushy thingy Helsinki is known for during many months of the year. And fitting to the conference’s name when arriving at Messukeskus on Wednesday morning, we were greeted by this wonderful display:
How does Slush work? Why did Anyline decide to go to Helsinki?
So Slush itself is a two-day-conference which includes various different kinds of stages, pitching competitions, and various areas of interest for everybody. Also, there a tons of side events you shouldn’t miss.
I’ll give you a little wrap up of this year’s events and opportunities:
Founders Day, November 10
Smaller event for networking before the conference started with lots of workshops focusing on pitching, investments in different regions of the world. This was held in a smaller event location in the city center.
Ongoing Program on the two conference days, November 11-12
– Four stages with talks and pitches: Green Stage, Black Stage, Pitching Stage and then Silver Stage with different focus topics
– Demo and exhibition area for startups and companies
– Recruiting area for startups and students looking for a match
– Slush store to buy awesome swag
– Meeting area for pre-arranged meetings via the online matchmaking tool
Facebook Start Helsinki, November 12
A Facebook centered event for early stage startups for networking. The event includes lots of workshops and talks from awesome people at Facebook.
The afterparty was simply amazing and legendary (as pre-announced by the organisers). No more comments needed.
About the choice
We’ve done some research before deciding to fly to the north and we knew that we definitely wanted to choose one business development event in fall. So we had some options – Web Summit in Dublin for example was one of them.
Basically, we were looking for a conference with a B2B focus, in a market which is put together of many early adopter companies, with a high affinity for technical solutions. Also, we looked for some ideas to cut through the noise of such huge conference in order to get enough visibility.
Therefore it became a combination of Finland, Slush and the application for the Slush100 Pitching Competition.
What’s the secret sauce of Slush?
Slush is amazing. That’s basically the secret sauce and it’s not just the hype, it’s the perfect execution and the focus on detail. We’ve arrived in Helsinki and when connecting to the Vantaa airport’s WIFI, my phone already showed Slush ads. We left the train station and there was a huge Slush logo hoisted above the bus station. Slush took over Helsinki. At the venue you were barely able to take a picture without the Slush logo “photobombing” your picture – branding at its best.
Each and every team member (team or volunteer) at Slush made sure the event worked out smoothly – about 1.500 volunteers (number not confirmed) were friendly, happy and wished us “a great Slush” any time we’ve met them. And it’s put together by a non-profit team, music festival organisers and lots of students and volunteers. Crazy, huh? It’s all about connecting people (which might derive from Nokia, mwhaha) – and this is clear in all actions taken. There is a no-bullshit-attitude which might also be connected to the Finnish culture and this allowed me to have very straight-forward and interesting meetings with investors, pitch jury members, big corporations and other startups. It’s the atmosphere that lies in the air, which can only derive from the organisers and everyone who bought into the mentality. There is one very special situation I want to address though. As I got the opportunity to pitch Anyline at the Slush100 Competition on Day 1 (and Day 2, because, well: SEMI-FINALS), I was amazingly nervous upon seeing the size of the stage and the masses of people actually listening to the 100 companies, which were selected out of 1700 applications. I arrived backstage shortly before my pitch and instantly calmed down – because of the team there. It was a fun and relaxed atmosphere, people joked around, equipped me with a microphone and tried to spell my last name with lots of enthusiasm. They helped me pitch the way I pitched. And that’s why I’ve sent Andreas Saari who was responsible for Operations a little bit of feedback, I’m gonna share here:
Hi Andreas,I’ve been at different kinds of startup events and conferences by now, but I wanted to emphasise how amazing Slush was. Even though I lead marketing and business development at Anyline I rarely pitch as I focus on 1-to-1 meetings and written communication (I’m rather the online/typing kind of person :D) and therefore super super nervous when I have to pitch in front of a big audience.So. What I wanted to say is THANK YOU to everyone who was backstage and who put everything in such a calming and joyful atmosphere. This helped me a lot (from the organisation to the guys who gave me the microphone and clicker and so on). Everyone was great! Please let your team know, these are super cool details you don’t experience everywhere.Biggest fan! Let me know if you stop by in Vienna or need something I can possibly help you with,I’ll be happy to help! Cheers,Carina
That’s the secret sauce.
One of the best 20 companies out of 1700:
Slush100 pitching competition and the outcome
Visibility, visibility and training training training! Amazing feedback on Twitter, lots of new connections and meeting requests after being on stage, important feedback on stage by an absolutely qualified jury who understood our product in a second and visibility in the Slush magazine and amongst 15.000 participants. This is one of the startup pitching competitions you should definitely try to get into.
— Silja Jalovaara (@SiljaJalovaara) November 11, 2015
I want to go to Slush 2016!
Wonderful, we too! 2015 was the first year Advantage Austria decided to organise a trip to Slush and some Finnish stakeholders in Helsinki and Espoo for Austrian companies. At this point we’d like to say “Kiitos paljon” (Thank you very much) to the Project Managers in Helsinki for organising the trip and hosting us! If you want to join us on our journey to the north next year, simply keep on the lookout for the Slush 2016 registration via the Advantage Austria event announcements.
And just for the record, why you should go:
- – Get market feedback from an early-adopter-like market
- – Connect to startups from a region where Skype, Supercell, Rovio, Spotify, TransferWise and many more interesting ones are from
- – Find out more about how Estonia managed to be the digitally most advanced country in the world
- – Meet investors
- – Use Slush as the entry point to the Asian market (What?! YES!)
- – Have Lonkero, learn a tiny bit of Finnish and enjoy the legendary parties
- – Oh, and opposite of what you would think of Helsinki in mid of November, the climate is like… well, you can sit outside (if you’re Finnish).
P.S.: Questions about Finland or Slush? Email me, I’ve studied in Finland, speak the language a little (Katso, poro!) and am happy to share more insights!
QUESTIONS? LET US KNOW!