Helsinki Fintech farm went to Slush this year with a mission: to understand from both a Fintech and a Bank point of view, what Slush has in store for you. Here are our insights and recap of the Slush experience.
Since its establishment, Slush has grown into something much bigger than the natural phenomena it takes its name from. When slush just makes people complain and go to work with wet shoes, Slush diverts these same people from their usual routes and makes them different. The numbers side-tracked from their day to day jobs are impressive – Slush 2019 equaled 25 000 people, 3500 startups and 2000 investors. You simply cannot enter Slush without learning something new.
But from a Fintech and a bank point of view, what does this actually mean? Well, this year over 60 banks sent people to Slush and 13 Fintechs/Banks sponsored Slush in one way or another. For example, Santander had a stand there and they chose to announce their new ‘Netflix for cars’ service just prior to Slush. The number of meetings organized by all the attendees is countless and the amount of follow-ups is generally high. Fintech is also strongly entwined in the content as 17 of the speakers represented Fintech’s in one way or another. Slush can, therefore, provide a one of a kind networking arena, access to capital and new ideas. You cannot really experience the whole event afterwards but in case you missed some of the talks – see them here.
On top of the official agenda, come the side events: this year there were 10+ side events with a Fintech edge and 290+ with another focus. Attending side events during Slush is recommendable, as they generally deliver more curated meetups. Some people also choose to attend only the side events, to manage time and resources. We had the opportunity to visit many side events this year and even organize some ourselves so here is a short overview of some of them:
Nordic Fintech Night
This year it was Nordea’s turn to organize the annual Nordic Fintech night at their HQ in Vallila. 20+ Fintech’s rose on stage to pitch their ideas and the Fintech hubs from across the Nordics were present to support their local companies. With over 300 attendees it was a strong kick-off to Slush Fintech activities.
Fintech Crash Course
Fintech Finland and Helsinki Business Hub organized a fintech crash course for all interested during the first day of Slush. Attendees had a chance to learn more about the industry, network with like-minded people and hear stories about expanding into the Nordics.
Bank of Lithuania and Startup Lithuania organized a networking evening to discuss doing business in Lithuania, the regulatory environment and regional success stories. Lithuania has been promoting themselves as a Fintech friendly nation and this was the theme at the event as well.
Helsinki Fintech Pool
An exclusive event for Fintechs, Banks and investors meant to facilitate networking in a casual environment. Close to 500 people expressed their interest to join this night of food & drinks, networking and sauna so a tradition was born. Finnish Enfuce introduced their new My Carbon Action service during the event. You can read more about the service here.
For the second year, Mastercard organized the official fintech side event of Slush. During the event, they announced the Swedish Doconomy as the winner of their Lighthouse program and launched a new program called MASSIV. The event also featured a panel discussion with startups and incumbents such as Revolut, Rapyd, Tink and Plaid.