December 9, 2016

Fires of Autumn – Impressions From Slush 2016

Our Finnish and Norwegian teams recently attended Slush 2016, a two-day tech conference in Helsinki, to talk about the latest trends in the industry, communicate with clients, and learn from the most prominent minds in the field. Here, they pinpoint the highest and most memorable moments, and share their overall impressions of the acclaimed event.

Slush 2016 opened with literal fire — a fire show, to be exact. The kick-off to the two-day event was full of prominent presentations, fireside panel discussions and networking, and proved incredibly uplifting, reminding the 17,500 attendees that technology is a grand beacon of hope that illuminates the future.

The themes were similarly hot: healthcare innovations, cleantech, fintech, and bitcoin, as well as how the traditional corporate world gears up the adoption of technologies to get in line with the deftly dealing startups. We were most impressed with the speech from tech startup Atomico, who shared the enlightening statistics that two-thirds of the largest European companies made direct investments into startups, while one-third has acquired a startup since 2015.

Later, the founders of Spotify and Supercell stepped onto the glaring stage to discuss failure in business — how it puts us on a learning path to become better, and its inherent link to founding a company. Most interestingly, Spotify admitted that they nearly missed the impact of mobile on the world three years ago. The subject of failure in business and in general might seem rather burdening, but the speakers and event’s overall positive tone forestalled any negative vibes in the audience, making the talks enormously educational and fun.     

Then there was Slush 100 — a two-day, three-stage pitching competition between one hundred startups preselected by international investors from thousands of applications. At the end of the second day there were four finalists. Naturally, there can only be one winner. This year, €500,000 equity investment went to CybelAngel — a startup that runs security checks not indexed by Google, using big data algorithms. They hit the jackpot for two reasons. First, CybelAngel addresses the biggest risk spot of digital businesses — data security. Second, the company’s COO made a charismatic pitch — our sincere congratulations to Evelyne!

Even the runner-ups included amazing companies: Shipwallet (revolutionising B2C shipping with AI), SketchOn (printing temporary tattoos on skin), and SendBird (helping people and businesses to have meaningful conversations in mobile chat).

VR is one of the big buzzwords this year, and Slush didn’t miss out on pronouncing it. We have thoroughly enjoyed the immersive experience created by Nokia’s new OZO VR camera, which was also presented at the event. Built for professional use, OZO is capable of creating a spherical VR environment ten times faster than other devices and has a 360-degree video and sound capture. A lot of pioneering devices are presented to public for testing only to become available later on — a year after presentation or so. Surprisingly enough, OZO was launched on the first day of Slush, and we are really proud we were there to witness!

This year, Slush delivered another top-notch event that is poised to be industry-igniting and spark new ingenious startups and long-lasting friendships in tech. Intellectsoft looks forward to visiting Slush in 2017 — to listen to the brightest minds in the industry, to discuss AR and other looming game-changers, network, and to simply have fun.