Finland: "Slush", Europe's largest new technology fair, is held in Helsinki

The “Slush” trade fair will be held until Friday, December 3 in Helsinki (illustrative image).

AP - Vesa Moilanen

Text by: Frédéric Faux

3 min

Since Wednesday December 1, the “Slush” event has been held in Helsinki, Finland.

A gathering that is on the agenda of all those interested in new technologies. 

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From our correspondent in Stockholm,

Frédéric Faux

In English,

slush

is the melted snow in which we normally wade at this time of the year, but it is also a show for new technologies, the largest in Europe, in which the creators of

start

-

ups

meet.

up

and investors.

But why is such a fair being held in Finland, a country of just over five million inhabitants, where winter lasts almost six months?

To answer, we have to go back a bit.

Finland is the country of Nokia, which launched the first consumer mobile phone in the early 2000s. Nokia was the leader in this market,

then collapsed from 2007/2008

, for various reasons and notably the appearance of the iPhone.

Support new businesses

The consequence is that thousands of highly qualified engineers have found their way into the workforce. In order not to lose this know-how, the government helped them to set up their own business. “Slush” was born at the same time and made it possible to really support the development of these new technological companies in Finland.

The reconversion was rather successful because some of these companies have become very important: the country now has more than ten unicorns, this is what we call the

start-ups

 that have exceeded a billion dollars in value, which is a record for a country of this size.

Just a few weeks ago it was Wolt, the leading European meal delivery company, created in Helsinki, and whose founder went through "Slush", which announced its takeover by an American company for seven billion. euros, or eight billion dollars.

A record for a

European

start-up

.

3,200 start-ups and 1,500 investors 

During these two days of the "Slush" show, we meet a lot of people. This year, assistance has been reduced due to Covid-19, but there are still 3,200

start-ups

and 1,500 investors on site. It really is a crash course for those who want to

start

a

start-up

, and grow fast. You have conferences hosted by tech celebrities like

the boss of Tinder

or the man who designed the iPhone. There are also meetings organized between young entrepreneurs, who present their products, their applications, and these investors, from all over the world.

The originality is that “Slush” was not created by big bosses, or by the State, but by students.

And it is always them who are at the head of the event.

There is therefore a very festive atmosphere, we move in the dark, the stands are lit by red neon lights.

Sometimes it feels like a nightclub and we almost forget that here, every year, billions of euros change hands.

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