Slush experiences

Photograph by Jussi Ratilainen, Slush 2017

Slush week – and our first Slush – is done and dusted; how did we spend the two days, what did we get out of it, and what are the lessons learned?

The office is located in Maria01, the hottest startup hub in Helsinki, which made it pretty much impossible to avoid the hype around the approaching event. Being Slush virgins all four of us, we had some heated debates on whether or not to spend a big chunk of our nearly non-existent marketing budget on a flashy conference with thousands of startups fighting for the same attention…

A bag of leaflets lying under your desk is traditionally the concrete outcome of a tech conference, and since the nearly paper-free Slush did not even provide us with that, then in hindsight, what did we take with us from Slush, and was it really worth it?

The reason we finally decided to buy the tickets was that we were accepted into the Slush100 pitching competition. Without that, we could possibly have thought of better ways to spend the money.

With hundred other extremely urgent issues on the table in the weeks before Slush, preparing the 3-minute pitch and practicing it was left to the last minute; the day (and night) before Wednesday, when the 100 startups pitched at the City Hall.

The competition seemed tough, at least for the few pitches we witnessed, but to our surprise, we got to the second round, the top50 session on Thursday, and eventually to the top10 session on the Central Stage on Friday!

All these pitches resulted in several super-interesting ad-hoc meetings on the fly – with both potential new customers as well as potential partners! Nevertheless, helping to organize these unplanned meetings was definitely something that the Slush app could have facilitated better! It was sometimes very difficult to get in contact and actually find people at the venue…

The Slush matchmaking tool, however, really proved its worth. In addition to the pitches, feedback and new contacts gained from the event in general, we met several rrrrreally interesting potential pilot partners through the tool, with whom we hope to continue collaboration with new pilot cases!

On one hand, with more upfront pre-Slush attention and execution, we might have been able to find even more potential clients, but on the other, our two-person Slush task force was already quite beaten after the meetings we had…

So all in all, Slush as a whole was a positive surprise, and the large amount of corporates attending the event was especially unexpected. This allowed us not only to talk to potential investors, but to also find potential customers and connect directly with them!

Slush 2017 – 5/5! ★★★★★