Slush was first organised as a one day event in 2008. Peter Vesterbacka (also one of the founders of Mobile Monday) and I decided to fill a gap that we thought existed in the Finnish start-up scene: there was no event to cater to the needs of small but growth oriented start-ups. An event where they could meet their peers, meet business experts, build their networks, get business advice and seek funding.After a good reception in 2008, we decided to axpand the vente to two days and bigger venue in 2009. We had a program more structured towards providing training and help, plus giving companies a chance to bring their ideas to the audience. We had two keynote speakears, Anssi Vanjoki from Nokia and Andreas Weigend (Stanford, Berkley and Amazon ex Chief Scientist).
In 2010 we aim to be the premier entrpreneurship event in the Nordics. We will again havea two day event, but now with even more expanded program. In International Business Program (IBP) Clinic 15 experts are helping digital business companies with their internationalisation challenges. IBP Clinic is organized with help of Slush key partners SITRA and Culminatum Innovation.
We will also have a workshop, Slush School of Angels, for potential angel investors, hosted by Stanford professor Burton Lee. DR. Lee is joined by oneof the most prominent Super Angles of today, Aydin Senkut. Mr. Senkut has made over 60 investments and is ranked by Businessweek in the top 25 angel investors in the world. Our aim with the workshop is to create a vital angel investing community in Finland (does not exist today).
This year we will have Mårten Mickos (ex MySQL CEO) and Allan Martinsson (prominent Estonian entrepreneur) as our keynote speakers.
A really intereting event that will run parallel is the Aivobic Center. "aivo" is brain in Finnish, so this is brain training vs. aerobic training for the body. This could even be a topic of separate artickle and I can get you more info if needed.
About the Slush concept: we are a non-profit event, build on an old Finnish concept of "Talkoot", which means doing things together to benefit those in need - much like American "barn raising" concept. Finns have been pitching in to help neighbours etc for centuries, so we have a good tradition to build on. In the modern day, our history of doing together shows in our leading position in open source development (Linux, MySQL etc.). This non-commercial status also means that we rely heavily on partners to organize the event with and are very grateful for those that have decided to pitch in with money or work (hammerkit.com guys have been a great help especially).