#knightsofslush climaxed in an exclusive dinner at the House of Nobility in Helsinki

“It should have been called Sh**z of #Slush,” says one founder; “Instead of serving fancy dinner to rich people in the House of Nobility, they should have used the EU money to support startups”, says another attendee.

Another Slush startup festival is just over and flights out of Helsinki are full of attendees returning to over 90 countries from which they travelled all the way to Helsinki for this event. In addition to the main event, every year there are several “side events” taking place around the same time, starting a few days before and continuing for a couple of days after the main event. Some of the side events are Slush’s own “official side events” and some are arranged by other organisers and accepted and promoted by Slush in their list.

This year we asked a number of Startups and participants to share their opinion on what were the most useful, well organised events in harmony with the main event and what were the least attractive ones. As for the best event, the majority of respondents had different candidates, but   Slush Global Impact Accelerator 2018 got the the most votes. GIA is a partnership program between Slush and other stakeholders such as the Min
istry of Foreign Affairs of Finland with the purpose of supporting impact startups and strengthening links between actors in the emerging markets and the Nordic countrie
s. “It was a great event and the startups which were presented were really inspiring”, Says Maria. “The winners of the GIA prize had truly done an amazing job solving problems of the poor people in Africa and elsewhere while making money at the same time. The event was also praised for it’s timing, being held between the end of the Slush main event and the Afterparty. Afterparty itself also was one of the most popular sections of Slush.

Knights of #Slush, which takes pride in being the “most exclusive Slush 2018 side event” gets a kick up the arse from attendees; firstly for that same reason, i.e.

exclusivity and elitism. Attendees found that to be in stark contradiction with the spirit of Slush, which has been progressive and inclusive. For the finale of the event, the organisers of Knights of Slush had arranged a seated dinner at the House of Nobility in Helsinki for investors, to which only a handful of startups and founders were invited. “It was ridiculous” says one founder who attended the dinner, “So presumptuous of them to assume that the “Knights” are the  ones with the money, not those who work hard, invent and produce value from nothing by starting companies.”

The Knights of Slush also gets low ratings for having been poorly organised. “It was very difficult to find out when and where each bit and piece of the two day event was being held”, Says Daniel. Sophie from France takes issue with the exaggeration in the events pr releases and unrealistic slogans, trying to market Espoo as the #LaunchpadEurope. “I don’t think startups would see why Espoo would be a better launchpad to Europe than for example Berlin, Paris or Vienna.” 

In an announcement (since we published this article the linked page was removed, but fortunately we had a screenshot, which can be seen here) inviting startups to apply to Knights of Slush, the organisers claim that “in 2017, Eur. 3 trillion worth of funds were presented at Knights of #Slush startup-investor matchmaking event,” which is obviously a huge overstatement considering that the sum equals the budget of China! Finland’s budget for this year was “only” 55 billion. 

“It should have been called Sh**z of Slush,” Says Alberto, “I don’t understand how someone with such poor organisational skills and vision could be let near any event like this, be it small or big. I think they just got some money form the EU and hired some assistant to burn it.”


Paul Kostner - HT