Slush Singapore: “Not your usual tech conference”

Slush Singapore, the start-up and innovation event, returns on 19 September for its second year with official involvement by the City of Helsinki (also the home town of the main Slush event). A Finland Pavilion will be showcasing Finnish start-ups and Helsinki to the 3,000 attending tech enthusiasts from 20 countries.

Peter Vesterbacka, founder of Slush, on main stage at inaugural Slush Singapore 2016

Driven out of passion for helping the next generation of entrepreneurs forward, Slush Singapore is organised in association with the Switch week, out to challenge the status quo.

On a scale of black and white, how grey exactly is today’s world? This is the question Slush Singapore will be asking its speakers on stage, on the lookout for colours behind the traditional topics, revealing beyond expectancy and encouraging broader thinking than one believes to be possible. “We believe nothing in life is just black or white – but can you see the spectrum of colours within?”

“City of Helsinki is an official partner for Slush Singapore this year and also the main partner for Founders Day, a pre-event for start-ups happening on 18th September. We hope Slush can provide a platform for a deeper dialogue between Helsinki and Singapore, and offer future collaboration opportunities in various sectors,” Anna Ratala, Head of Slush Singapore tells ScandAsia.

Anna Ratala, Head of Slush Singapore

Anna and her team takes Slush to next level based on the 2016 edition and all the input collected from investors, start-ups, attendees on how they can become even better. “The whole reason why Slush Singapore is organized again this year is based on the fantastic feedback we got from last year. We were able to create something unique in Singapore’s event scene and start a grounds-up movement engaging 200 volunteers. The strong support from the local and regional ecosystem is showing that we did some things right last year. And now, we want to engage even more people and create an experience that will blow them away!”

Anna points to two new things that Slush bringing to the table in Singapore: Firstly, the different level of volunteering. We’re not looking for free work force; such people rarely make great teams. We’re looking for dedicated doers who want to step up and really drive the direction to which Slush Singapore is going. We’re providing a fantastic platform for young people to gain new skills, take responsibility, practice leadership, make mistakes and learn from them. Secondly, we’re bringing some healthy competition to the events scene. There are lots of good events in Singapore but it’s difficult to reinvent yourself if you’ve been around for years with few challengers. Our Slush team is hungry for offering people next-level event experiences and we’re hoping to raise the bar for all events in the region and challenge them to be better, more innovative and always think attendees-first.”

The fast-growing start-up scene in the region is also having an impact on Slush: “We can definitely see a lot more international attendees from the region, for example in an increasing number of Pitch Competition applicants from the region. This is a good sign as it tells the start-up scene is growing in the region. Another interesting development is the maturing of the start-ups. While Slush caters more for early stage start-ups, we start to see many new names pop up, while the ‘usual suspects’ have moved on to raising their next rounds. There is still a clear mismatch on the VC side as majority of the VCs in the region are still looking at seed to A rounds. This dynamic will change in the next couple of years and I’m looking forward to showcasing some of the successful exits at Slush Singapore in the coming years!”

Time is on Southeast Asia’s side and Singapore is the hub: “Traditionally when you hear someone talk about Asia, you think of China. This is especially true for the Nordics. When you say Southeast Asia, most people would know holiday destinations in Thailand or Bali. What people don’t realize is that this region has a population of 600 million people that are rapidly leapfrogging their way to the world’s fastest growing mobile market. Countries like Indonesia or Vietnam have huge hidden opportunities worth billions – but the world is yet to fully see the potential. Slush Singapore wants to welcome techies, entrepreneurs and investors to see a glimpse of that potential at our event. As a regional hub for technology, funding and talent, Singapore is a great spot to meet the region and build connections,” states the Finn.

Anna Ratala and Peter Vesterbacka

Her three personal highlights from upcoming Slush 2017 are as follows: 1) Q&A Boomerang, a spot where our audience can meet & greet speakers and ask them questions. Can’t wait to catch Pocket Sun/SoGal Ventures and Taavet Hinrikus/TransferWise there, among others! 2) Pitch Competition, themed World Domination Tour. This year, we’ll be sending our winners to startup capitals of the world, such as Helsinki, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and London. 3) Black & White after party – the legendary wrap-up for Slush Singapore and time to celebrate with all our 3,000 attendees!


About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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