Serious about Technology
Finns are known for being a happy and somewhat cautious nation. But there is one thing they are absolutely serious about: technology. Finland has given birth to the short messaging system, the computer operating system Linux and the first internet browser with UX interface. So it comes as no surprise that, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), Finland is the most digitized country in Europe. One of the driving forces is a unique start-up ecosystem with a high degree of intrinsic motivation. Start-ups are admired and promoted, and their success is seen as benefiting all of society.
Slush is back and we were too
After last year’s cancellation due to the corona pandemic, everybody was quite excited to be back in Helsinki. Over 8,000 visitors attended this year. With a delegation of 35 start-ups the Digital Hub Initiative was part of the “German Pitching Stage” at the AHK Joint Stand, which is a joint booth of the German Chambers of Commerce abroad. At the inaugural dinner on November 30 our delegation met with 25 VCs and companies and was welcomed by German Ambassador Arz von Straussenburg. All our start-ups pitched on the stage and took part in an investor speed dating. Peter Vesterbacka, Founder of Slush and Finnish celebrity investor, met our delegation for a speech and a Q&A session.
Matching corporate challenges and start-up technology
In terms of innovation and invention, this year did not disappoint. Technologies ranged from self-driving vehicles with sensor systems and autonomous robots to stethoscopes and quantum computers. Sustainability was a particular focus. Another emphasis were the connections between the corporate and start-up worlds and ways that both can work better together. An increased number of corporate visitors showed how valuable start-ups have become as technology partners. With a high specialization and flexible organization, start-ups can act faster and deliver the niche solutions corporates are looking for. After last year’s enforced hiatus, 2021 again showed that Slush is as one of Europe’s most important start-up events.