We just returned from SLUSH Helsinki. One of the most inspiring places, which my partner Mato and I attended. In this brief entry I will talk about our event, how we managed to get there, what opportunities we got and how was at the afterparty.
First time I saw SLUSH on a webpage of Slovak Business Agency – they have called it the largest startup event in Europe. In that moment, I knew, that we have to go there with RE-BELLS. We sent a formal request to SBA a they agreed. SBA payed us the flight, accommodation, tickets and demo booth at the venue for both days.
We had a flight one day before the event. As we were carrying quite a big box with all the equipment for our booth, we chosen to come to Vienna by car. We left the car at park-and-fly – parking about 10 minutes away by taxi. As we worried about our large box and problems that might occur, we came 2 hours prior the flight. The airport is actually organised very well and our box was processed within minutes at the bulky luggage section. After arriving to Helsinki we took a taxi to the hotel and also used taxi for the ride to the venue next morning.
The event SLUSH has surprised us greatly in many ways. At first, the organisation was fantastic. We actually got a badge directly on the arriving terminal at the airport, together with a SLUSH wrist band and 2 day free public transport card. After arrival to the venue Messukeskus we went immediately in without waiting in the lines. A nice volunteer helped us locate our demo booth, where we had 2 hours to prepare. The time was just right, we managed to prepare everything before the gates opened.
We had 2×2 meters available equipped with a shelf rack, separating wall, conference table, power outlet and wi-fi. We used the separating wall to hang a poster. The poster was visible from far away and it stated – “Welcome HORECA partners!” We also brought showcase cabinet and a roll-up with us. They were both lighted, which showed up as a great advantage. Our entire stand was glowing and it brought a lot of attention. There is a light by default at every stand, but it is not enough as there is plenty of lasers and lights everywhere around.
Our stand was visited during two days about 500 times. Every visitor at the venue had a badge with his name and role (conference, startup, investor, executive, music, volunteer, student or speaker). So you had a rough idea of who are you talking to. Apart from that, we tried to tell every visitor what are we up to and show him a quick demo, after that we tried to find out in what kind of business he is. If it was relevant, we exchanged business cards. During the two days, we managed to gain more than 70 international contacts. Mostly potential distribution partners from all over world. Other contacts were regarding technology, business development or HR. Probably the most interesting contacts were the ones directly on restaurant directors, which want to use RE-BELLS at their place to enable their guests to call the waiter at any time.
It would not be SLUSH without an afterparty. Just how you would expect from organisers of the event – the party was outstanding. Three stages with different types of music just had it all. A surprising bonus was drinks completely free of charge. We had some great time at the after party and had the opportunity to meet more new people, but this time in a less formal way.
Finally few tips. Train you english and your pitch with your mate before the event at least one hour for couple of days. Bring external lights to your booth. Think of something engaging, that will draw attention of visitors. Take a pair of comfy shoes, as you are going to stand on your feet for 11 hours. 🙂
If you are preparing for SLUSH, feel free to contact me, I am opened to share my experience with you.
Wish you best!
co-founder at RE-BELLS