The first day of the sold-out Slush 2016 gathered 17,500 guests, including 2,336 startups, 1,146 investors and 610 journalists together. Slush CEO, Marianne Vikkula and President and Executive Producer, Nicolas Dolenc opened the day with welcoming remarks coupled with jaw-dropping displays of fire eruptions and leaping flames.
Throughout the day, ingenious speakers wowed and impressed the packed crowds gathered within the six themed stages. Some of the founders, CEOs, and partners that spoke were: Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca, Spotify’s Daniel Ek, Sherpa Foundry’s Lisa Barnett, Kleiner Perkins’ Arielle Zuckerberg, and StackOverflow’s Joel Spolsky. Prestigious appearances were also seen on stage at Slush, when the Crown Prince of Norway Haakon and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands bestowed their presence among excited guests.
Notable launches were announced at the event. Clue, a leading female health app, announced a $20 million funding round led by Nokia Venture Partners. TeliaCompany CEO, Johan Dennelind, and Co-Founder of Fair, Johannes Hirvaskoski, launched the first peer-to-peer insurance service. Users of Fair are able to vote on which damages will be compensated, and subsequently share the reimbursement. Hatch, a company spin-off of Rovio, released a social game provider and streaming service. In this “Netflix of games,” users can easily play and share over 100 games.
For the second year in a row, Atomico and Slush published an extensive study on the current state of European tech. The report highlighted the key developments in Europe’s tech and startup scene, and distinguished three significant trends for 2016. Deep tech is thriving and diversifying: since 2011, the number of deep tech startups founded in Europe has grown 3.5x. New tech hubs, such as Munich, Zurich, Lisbon, Madrid, and Copenhagen, are emerging beyond the traditional order of London, Berlin, and Stockholm. Especially, Paris is starting to challenge London and Berlin, in terms of the number of VC-financed deals and deal volume. Traditional industries are awakening to tech, as two thirds of Europe’s largest corporates by market cap have made a direct investment in a tech company, and one third have acquired a tech company since the beginning of 2015.
During Day 1, startups participating in the Slush 100 Pitching Competition battled for the twenty semifinal spots. The semifinalists will continue their chase at the pitching stage tomorrow morning, with only four among them prevailing to the final round held at the Founder Stage later on the day 2.
Photo Credits: Kai Kuusisto