More than 17,500 people went to Helsinki, Finland for the annual Slush event that gathers startups with investors, and this year there were more than 2,336 startups present, 1,146 investors and 610 journalists, made possible byÂ the great organizing team that was supported by over 2,300 volunteers as well.
Slush CEO, Marianne Vikkula and President and Executive Producer, Nicolas Dolenc opened the first day of the Slush event with welcoming remarks coupled with jaw-dropping displays of fire eruptions and leaping flames.
Throughout the event, ingenious speakers wowed and impressed the packed crowds gathered within the six themed stages. Some of the founders, CEOs, and partners that spoke were: Lowercase Capitalâ€™s Chris Sacca, Spotifyâ€™s Daniel Ek, Sherpa Foundryâ€™s Lisa Barnett, Kleiner Perkinsâ€™ Arielle Zuckerberg, and StackOverflowâ€™s Joel Spolsky. Prestigious appearances were also seen on stage at Slush, when the Crown Prince of Norway Haakon and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands bestowed their presence among excited guests.
Notable launches were eagerly announced at the event. Clue, a leading female health app, announced a $20 million funding round led by Nokia Venture Partners. TeliaCompany CEO, Johan Dennelind, and Co-Founder of Fair, Johannes Hirvaskoski, launched the first peer-topeer insurance service.
Users of Fair are able to vote on which damages will be compensated, and subsequently share the reimbursement. Hatch, a company spin-off of Rovio, released a social game provider and streaming service. In this â€œNetflix of games,â€ users can easily play and share over 100 games.
For the second year in a row, Atomico and Slush published an extensive study on the current state of European tech. The report highlighted the key developments in Europeâ€™s tech and startup scene, and distinguished three significant trends for 2016.
Deep tech is thriving and diversifying: since 2011, the number of deep tech startups founded in Europe has grown 3.5x. New tech hubs, such as Munich, Zurich, Lisbon, Madrid, and Copenhagen, are emerging beyond the traditional order of London, Berlin, and Stockholm. Especially, Paris is starting to challenge London and Berlin, in terms of the number of VC-financed deals and deal volume.
Traditional industries are awakening to tech, as two-thirds of Europeâ€™s largest corporates by market cap have made a direct investment in a tech company, and one-third have acquired a tech company since the beginning of 2015.
According to Atomico there are 4.7 million professional developers in Europe compared to 4.1 million in the US. Given Trumpâ€™s threats to curtail work visas, more US companies will be looking to the rest of the world to establish research and development centers.
Events like Slush serve to highlight the possibilities in countries which would not necessarily have been acknowledged as sources of talent and innovation.
Photo: Sami VÃ¤likangas