"Slush is an event organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Founder stories have always been, and will be, the mainstay of our program." Foto: Petri Anttila.

What to expect… When you’re expecting Slush 2018

GUEST ENTRY: Slush 2018 ticket sales began today, kick-starting our countdown for the 11th Slush in Helsinki this December. This year’s theme takes a cue from our mission to enable more meaningful meetings at the event and throughout the Slush year. Slush CEO Andreas Saari gives teasers on what you can expect.

You might have noticed that there’s something happening in the Nordics – again. The recent exits, most notably the massive ones by Swedish phenomena Spotify and iZettle, have got us thrilled about the coming months and years for Nordic and European tech.

My guess is that things are really only getting started, as the proceedings from these deals no doubt serve as a trigger for the second wave of ultra-high-quality startup companies and funds being founded by the people involved with the first success stories.

Additionally, several current European funds, with the ability to produce excellent returns to their own investors will, most likely, drive more capital into VC overall, which further accelerates the upward spiral.

I’m damn eager to dig deeper into how these companies, and their counterparts all over the world, were built from the ground up to scale on the most concrete level – as told by the people who actually did it. To do this, we’re going to use the tools we have: our stage program will serve as a platform to gather and share the insights for you, the current builders of companies.

Our speed mentoring service, piloted and praised last year, as well as numerous side events, will further provide you with opportunities to meet the right people at the right time.

But first, let’s talk about those people.

Best Kept Secrets

As we already revealed in our Call for Speakers, this year we’ve been on the hunt for your best kept secrets. We’re talking of those invisible forces behind your company who make everything possible – and keep it together when everything seems to be going wrong.

You know the crowd. Their titles don’t matter. They are the people who are designing your product. Who build your company culture from the scratch. Who keep the operations running while you’re out and about. It’s about time the spotlight was shone on them.

Slush is an event organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Founder stories have always been, and will be, the mainstay of our program. In addition to that, this year we are really hammering home the tangible advice.

Founders don’t do everything by themselves, so why put all the burden of our program on them? Slush 2018 will aim to mobilize CTOs, COOs, CMOs, CFOs, Heads of Talent, Product and Design… be that someone who knows everything about growth, developing a product or building the right kind of team, you’ll see them taking the stage along with founders this year.

Game, Set, Match at Slush 2018!

Whatever it is you’ll come here for – getting that crucial 3-minute sit-down with the right investor or to meet your future co-founder  – we’ve got you covered.

In addition to the stage program, you’ll also have a chance to engage with entrepreneurs and investors through roundtable discussions, speed mentoring, and studio Q&A sessions. But most importantly, as the best opportunities are the ones you create for yourself, we want to provide you with a toolkit for hacking Slush.

This year, for the first time, our in-house built Matchmaking Tool is open to all Slush attendees. 10,000 meetings were organized with the tool last year in and outside of our meeting area, which was booked full before the event even began.

To answer the call, we’ve doubled our meeting area capacity to make sure many more have the chance to arrange a meeting during the main event. Furthermore, the tool now covers all of our official side events too, so you are not limited to making matches at the main event days.

Creativity Is the Core

Technological development is first and foremost fueled by human creativity and ingenuity. Even though there are concerned voices on technology stifling creativity, we think the two go together quite nicely. The closer integration of creativity and technology is an inevitable building block for the construction of great companies.

It’s time to develop our vertical Slush Music into a broader creative program track. The new creative track will concentrate on applying creativity to every aspect of what we do in our field. You can expect to hear intense cross-industry discussions with some of the greatest minds in music, fashion, entertainment, creative leadership, and design.

Most startups end up becoming or working together with people from other creative industries at some point when scaling their organization, and many could do well by embracing this opportunity earlier on.

Tech companies, like all problem-solving entities, feed on diverse ways of imagining and thinking. By emphasizing creativity in our agenda this year, we encourage everyone to see the possibilities in the closer collaboration between tech-heads and different creative industries.

So, all-in-all… more boundary-breaking combinations of minds as well as more ultra-hands-on advice, delivered by the very people you should be hearing it from, and more chances for you to actually meet them. We were serious about increasing Slush meetings ten-fold and dead set on accomplishing it.

No time like the present: get your Slush ticket here and secure your place in the startup phenomenon of the year!