Helsinki start-up event Slush to go ahead in-person in December

30 Aug 2021

Helsinki, Finland. Image: © Scanrail/

Organisers said the event scheduled for 1 and 2 December will host around 8,000 attendees including start-up founders, investors and speakers from leading companies.

Slush, the annual start-up and tech event held in Helsinki, will go ahead in-person this December after being cancelled in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organisers said that changes will be made to the in-person event to make it safe, including requiring vaccination passports, negative PCR tests, or proof of recovery from Covid-19 less than six months prior to the event.

In an announcement today (30 August), Slush said its main event will go ahead on 1 and 2 December with around 8,000 attendees, including 3,200 start-ups and 1,500 investors, at the Messukeskus Helsinki convention centre. Tickets will be available from 1 September.

More than 150 speakers are in the line-up for the two days, including executives from dating app Tinder, sleep and meditation app Calm, and collaborative whiteboard platform Miro. Slush said that in keeping with this year’s theme of “the entrepreneurial renaissance”, discussions will be centred around how entrepreneurship should change.

Speakers already announced on the company website include UiPath co-founder and CEO Daniel Dines, Sequoia partner Luciana Lixandru, Northvolt founder and CEO Peter Carlsson, DeepMind COO Lila Ibrahim, founder and CEO Guillaume Pousaz, Monzo COO Sujata Bhatia, and Arrival founder and CEO Denis Sverdlov. Some of the investors attending the event include Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Draper Esprit, Sequoia and Tencent.

Mika Huttunen, CEO of Slush, said that Slush is going ahead with health and safety measures this year because meaningful in-person encounters and “stumbling across opportunities” can’t be achieved remotely. “We encourage our visitors to commit to the health measures like we do to achieve a safe Slush experience that still feels like Slush.”

Apart from accepting Covid-19 vaccine passports and other requirements for entry, the event venue will also reinforce cleaning, implement a no-handshakes policy, and offer masks to all attendees to prevent the spread of the virus.

Huttunen added that there is a clear demand for face-to-face interaction in the start-up world.

“It might seem that we are more connected than ever, but the truth is, some things can’t be achieved remotely. Sharing the highs and lows with peers, getting and giving advice, and having serendipitous meetings are essential for every founder’s journey.”

Last year, Slush created a platform called Node that is an online community for start-up founders to access resources that can help them grow their business. It also launched a media platform called Soaked which covers founder advice and start-up commentary.

Slush was founded by entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka and lawyer Timo Airisto in 2008.

Earlier this month, international tech conference Web Summit also confirmed its return to an in-person event in November. Web Summit 2021 will be held in Lisbon, Portugal.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic