The best way to start business? Invite your potential investor to a sauna.

The best way to start business? Invite your potential investor to a sauna.

“One thing startups need the most to succeed is creating a community around them. A community of clients, investors and connectors,” says Katja Berkhout, international director of StartupDelta. With those words in mind, Sobolt attended the largest global startup event Slush in Finland on the 4th and 5th of December as a part of the Dutch economic missions led by Prince Constantijn van Oranje. Grown from 300 people attending in its first year in 2008, Slush is now an event with more than 20,000 attendees and nearly 3,000 startups. A unique opportunity for Sobolt to submerge itself in the global startup community!




For Sobolt, Slush started one day early. After some early morning meetings with clients, we headed to the Dutch embassy in Finland, where we were welcomed by the Dutch ambassador Cees Bansema and Prince Constantijn. After the session with the Dutchies, we had a chance to meet Finnish organizations such as Kone and NEFCO, and officials of various Finnish cities. Later that evening, we were amongst the lucky few to be selected to attend the exclusive opening dinner organized by Ton van 't Noordende, investor and CEO at 01 Ventures and residence for StartupDelta, who welcomed us by sharing his vision: “To connect people in an informal way so that they can get to know each other and then built a business together.”


Green roofs, solar search and a little bit of rock & roll

On the 4th of December, upon entering the exhibition we thought we had arrived at the wrong venue. Can you imagine a typical conference setting? Well, Slush turned out to be anything but. Rather, it is a combination of a conference hall and a rock show with colorful lights, music and even a bit of smoke. Soon enough, it became clear we were at the right place when we set up our stand and started our meetings. Both investors and clients were excited about our AI solutions for liveable cities such as green roofs, solar search and accessibility – it was inspiring to exchange thoughts and ideas on current challenges on a global and local scale.


When in Finland, one must sauna

One unique aspect about Slush is the side events. After the doors of the exhibition close at 6, it is definitely not time to go home yet. As such, we attended the Slush Sea Pool event, where we got a chance to present our company at the panel meeting and ask questions to Siemens, the city of Espoo and many others. What made this event even more unique, was that we networked with investors during a session in a real Finnish sauna, followed up by a dip in a freezing 2 degree pool. Another side event we took part in, was the Startup Funding Event. Here we pitched our company in front of a diverse group of community members and won a top 3 price for our impactful solution – truly the icing on what was already a fantastic cake.


Intimate and meaningful

All in all, Slush was a great success. As Prince Constantijn put it: “Slush is very different from all other events, as it is intimate” and that is what we have experienced during our days in Finland. We made many meaningful connections with Dutchies and internationals – at our stand, at the meetings, in the line to the lunch, basically everywhere we went. Now, it is time to follow-up on all the connections we made, turn them into partnerships, and get some sleep.


If you didn't meet us at Slush or couldn't be there this year but are still interested in AI solutions for liveable cities, contact us and let’s meet here in The Netherlands, even if not in a sauna!




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