SLUSH - a splash for EIT Digital startups with Plugsurfing as 1 of 4 in the 100 finals
The start-up conference SLUSH, held annually in Helsinki in the beginning of November has grown steadily for eight years and now attract some 15 000 people and the largest concentration of venture capital as well as the best start-ups in Northern Europe. The focus on the Nordic region was enforced by the opening speeches by the Finnish Prime Minister, the Estonian President and the presence of the Swedish Prince Daniel in the exhibition area.
Media interest in promising European start-ups
The EIT Digital stand was well placed closed to the central stage and opposite the Swedish hotspot where the Prince created a lot of buzz. The 26 start-ups coached by the EIT Digital Accelerator also created some buzz at the event as Plugsurfing made it all the way to the very top four of the 100 start-ups pitch finals although not winning. They made it big in people’s perception and in the news item of the largest Finnish daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat in an article also featuring UNO Motors as two of the start-ups to revolutionise transportation and mobility in Europe in the future.
Other start-ups mentioned in media were Light Flex Technology and Neue Labs, featured in Nordic Style Mag, an online magazine on the look for the new looks, fashion and design. They were taken by the technology of Light Flex that makes it possible to print light into fabrics which has gained interest from both Swedish fashion brands as well as the Swedish Police. Neue Labs, make garments to be more than fabrics with chips that control smart textiles and can change colour, image or patterns in a way that will change the industry without a doubt, according to the same magazine.
A marketplace for start-up support and talent acquisition
Chino, an EIT Digital supported start-up with a solution for secure storage of health data participated in the pitch competition, organised by London based Seedcamp and succeeded in being 1 of 4 winners of a total of 400 participating companies. This provides them an opportunity of first round of funding and further networks to learn and scale their business.
In the Swedish.vc blog, serial entrepreneur Daniel Laurén makes a point in stating that SLUSH is more than an event – it is a movement. "With its 1500 volunteers, a majority being students that are soaked in the start-up sense of we can do this, just wait and see". A number of these students are from the EIT Digital Master School and a team also took the chance to join the Ultra Hack sessions, a side event of SLUSH, and won the third prize with a Smart Mirror project!
You need the right blend!
"Transforming universities to support start-ups" was the title of EIT Digital’s CEO Willem Jonker’s presentation in the SLUSH session on Redefining School. In good company of other initiatives to transform the traditional education system into a more innovative and entrepreneurial process, Jonker presented the EIT Digital Education activities and the coming launch of blended education offers for Master students and Professional / Executive needs.
Digital Health at Slush
At Slush six start-ups from EIT Digital Health and Wellbeing Business Community took part in the Health and Wellness Networking session organized by HealthSPA. HealthSPA is a non-profit association for health start-ups, with a bold goal to put Finland on the world map when it comes to health. The Networking event brought together international start-ups, investors and influencers in health industry. In addition, the same six: Beast, Ugentec, Finbiosoft, Synoste, Wellmo and HeiaHeia participated in GE Healthcare Investor Demo Day where they had an opportunity to demonstrate their products to the digital health investors.
SLUSH100 winner Caremonkey proofs that SLUSH is a truly global event...
The fact that an Australian company, Caremonkey, won the 100 finals shows that the world and VCs is interested in the Nordics and the European start-up scene. As the special SLUSH report, delivered by Atomico and presented by its CEO Niclas Zennström, the state of European Tech is strong but to compete with Silicon Valley it needs to interconnect its tech hubs and improve access to talents.