Passing through the entrance, looking up at this welcome sign – we entered SLUSH 2017 together with 20,000 other excited tech heads – with the aim to drive change and to join the movement in supporting the next generation of groundbreaking founders. The line-up was impressive to say the least – over 2,600 startups and 1,500 VCs from over 130 countries as well as CEOs and Founders of leading global tech companies were brought together in Helsinki.
With last years SLUSH banner ‘Nobody in their Right Mind Would Ever Come to Helsinki in November – Except You, You Badass’ praising the bravery of attendees – it is only natural that the force of weirdos awakens to attend also this year’s start-up festival and together create the amazing atmosphere that prevail at SLUSH, despite being the so called ‘sh*ttiest weather season of the year‘.
Al Gore opened the world-renowned conference and set the stage for other speakers, consisting of leading actors of the global tech scene including the President of Tencent, Founders and CEOs of global success stories such as Supercell, Zynga, Trello, Slack and Delivery Hero to name a few. Surrounded by laser rave lighting in pink and blue, speakers shared their amazing stories and memories in their own way and we got a glimpse into their real key challenges and successes. The personal touch certainly provide an edge to the phenomenal atmosphere prevailing at SLUSH.
The philosophy behind SLUSH has remained the same since its inception: to help the next generation of great, world-conquering companies forward.
In the meeting areas of SLUSH, matchmaking is on the highest gear. Founders and investors meet to drive business forward, find new and innovative solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems and to support the general development through technology. Among the visiting investors we find Atomico, Accel, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Index Ventures, Northzone, Sitra and Sherpa Capital – looking for their new investments and to partner-up with the vibrant start-ups to create the next big success story.
SLUSH is truly a utopian spot for entrepreneurship where start-ups, investors and well-established success stories meet and create a unique environment of energy and enthusiasm to continue to support the next generation of world-conquering companies in their growth and on their way to success.
Europe is a natural home of world-leading technology hubs, creating businesses of true scale, such as Supercell, Delivery Hero, Zalando and Spotify to name a few. 2017 has been a big year for European tech with important milestones including significant capital raises and large IPOs, growing amount of available capital to unlock the potential of European tech companies and several landmark funds being launched, election of world leaders supporting the tech industry, booming tech workforce and developer workforce as well as growing tech communities, becoming more and more engaged and enforced.
In general there is a high level of optimism about the future of the European tech ecosystem. Some key takeaways on the European and global tech scene, its development during 2017 and some trends that caught our attention during SLUSH below:
- Europe is very bullish about the future of their tech ecosystem (although differences across countries)
- European tech workforce growth of 3x year-on-year
- Geographic diversification continues and cross-border investment activity increases. 33% of investments made by European VCs are into companies outside of the VC’s domestic market and almost $2 Bn is invested by Asian investors into European tech companies
- Record-levels of capital invested into European tech of $19 Bn (+33% vs. 2016)
- Increase in capital invested per deal, number of earliest stage funding rounds are declining
- VR is expected to grow hugely over the next couple of years and expected to reach over 170 MM users in 2018, although many companies still seem to try to get their mind around their VR strategies for the future
- FoodTech is definitely a hot topic. Speakers and start-ups shared their thoughts on the next generation and future of food and tech
All in all, we left SLUSH highly inspired and filled with new impressions and ideas. We are already super excited about next year’s SLUSH and everything it has to bring – not at least the welcome sign of SLUSH 2018!