Slush (event)

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Slush Black Logo.png
GenreTechnology, Startups
VenueMessukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre
CountryFinland, Japan, China and Singapore
Attendance20,000 (2017)

Slush is a not-for-profit startup and tech event. The main purpose of Slush is to facilitate meetings between the founders of start-ups and investors such as venture capitalists, accomplished with events such as "match-making" and pitching competitions. Although the company calls themselves a "not-for-profit" organisation, the fees for the events can be upwards of 795 euros per person. The business model of the company is also considered by some to be "unethical", as volunteers who are often students, are invited to work as a "volunteer" for the company, in exchange for free entrance to the event. It is sometimes deemed as controversial, as perhaps a more sustainable business model would be to have a cheaper ticket price for students - so that they can also afford entry, rather than having to work for free serving coffee, setting up table and etc. Regardless, it means that Slush has very little overheads in terms of labour and high ticket sales income, and therefore the "not-for-profit" concept is by some seen as un-true. The philosophy of Slush however aims to change attitudes towards entrepreneurship by providing a platform for youths and student volunteers to co-organize and build a world-wide startup community. Held annually in Helsinki, Finland, it has grown from a 300-person conference in 2008 into one of the leading global startup event of its kind in 2017. In 2017, Slush gathered 20,000 attendees,[1] with over 2,600 startups, 1,500 investors and 600 journalists coming in from over 130 countries to participate together in this global networking festival.[2]

Since 2015, Slush also run events throughout the world in four major cities under Slush Tokyo, Slush Shanghai, and Slush Singapore.[3]


The founders of Slush were Peter Vesterbacka, then working at Rovio with Angry Birds, together with Timo Airisto, a lawyer.[4] In 2011, Miki Kuusi became the CEO, and together with Atte Hujanen and Jenni Kääriäinen organized the event at Kaapelitehdas, with 1500 attendees. The event was staffed mainly by student volunteers from Aaltoes (Aalto Entrepreneurship Society) of Aalto University.[5]


The 2017 event was organized between November 30–December 1, 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.[6] 20,000 attendees gathered together, including 2,600 startups, 1,500 investors, and 600 journalists from over 130 countries. Speakers included Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States, Martin Lau, President of Tencent, Ilkka Paananen, co-founder & CEO of Supercell and Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify.

Hottest industry trends included data analytics and artificial intelligence.[7] In 2017, more than 7000 "matchmaking" meetings had been set-up between founders and investors.[8]


Over 17,500 people from 130 countries, including 2,336 startups, 1,146 venture capitalists and investors, and 630 journalists gathered together at Slush 2016, on November 30–December 1. The speaker list had names like Chris Sacca, Founder & Chairman at Lowercase Capital, Steve Jurvetson, managing director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Joel Spolsky, CEO & Co-Founder at Stack Overflow, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Founder & CEO of Klarna and Danae Ringelmann, Co-founder of Indiegogo, on it.[9]


In 2015, Slush was organized on November 11–12 in the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre. Key speakers included Caterina Fake, Co-founder of Flickr & Hunch, Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Niklas Zennström, Co-founder of Skype & Atomico, and Ilkka Paananen, Founder & CEO of Supercell. Slush was also awarded The Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic in December 2015.[10]


In 2014, Slush moved from the Cable Factory to the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre. The event, again, doubled its size from the previous year with 14,000 attendees. Out of the attendees, more than 700 were investors. The event was attended by journalists from 45 different countries. Speakers included Wang Yang, Vice Premier of China, Martin Lorentzon, founder of Spotify, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonic Orchestra in London, and Leland Melvin, an American engineer and NASA astronaut. In 2014, Nokia also launched its Nokia N1 7.9" tablet at the main stage of Slush.[11]


The 2013 event was attended by 7,000 people, including 1,200 startups and 120 VC firms, and it was featured in The New York Times[12] and The Wall Street Journal.[13] Speakers included Taizo Son, Founder and CEO of Mistletoe, Jian Wang, Chairman of Technology Steering Committee of Alibaba Group, Niklas Zennström, founder of Skype and Atomico, and Taavet Hinrikus, and Co-founder of Transferwise.


Founded by Helene Auramo, Kai Lemmetty, Ville Vesterinen and Peter Vesterbacka. First event was held in Korjaamo with two stages, one for business and one for technology.[14]


  1. ^ Hixon, Todd. "A Report From The Hot And Cool Nordic Venture Scene". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  2. ^ Haaramo, Eeva. "Slush 2015 breaks records as Finland's startup scene flourishes". Computer Weekly. Computer Weekly. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  3. ^ "What Is Slush". Slush. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Slush". Slush.
  7. ^ "Analytiikka ja tekoäly ovat tämän vuoden trendit Slushissa". Turun Sanomat.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "On Stage 2016". On Stage 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  10. ^ "The Internationalisation Award of the President of the Republic goes to Slush, Vahterus and Serres". Export Finland. Export Finland. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  11. ^ "Nokia Announces N1 Android Tablet". Nokia. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  12. ^ Scott, Mark. "Finns Pitch Frightful Weather as a Competitive Advantage". Bits, The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  13. ^ Rossi, Juhana; Grundberg, Sven. "Finland's Prime Minister Looks to Startups". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Vesterinen, Ville. "SLUSH HELSINKI". ArcticStartup. Retrieved November 28, 2017.

See also[edit]