5,000 attendees, 500 startups, 200 investors and 250 journalists. Day one of Slush Tokyo has left us, with buzzing excitement, wanting more. The Slush Tokyo CEO Antti Sonninen kicked the day off with his opening speech. The same electric atmosphere persisted throughout the rest of the day.
Following the opening speech, Angel Investor and Serial Entrepreneur, Steve Jang, took the Main Stage alongside Uber Co-founder and Chairman and Founder of Expa, Garrett Camp, discussing how to build and sustain global businesses. The discussion was active and engaging, with both parties giving valuable insights. The two highlighted passion as a fundamental drive behind startups, as Garrett states: “I look for passion as much as I do for talent. Passion is what gets you through the hard times.”
Later, also on the Main Stage, was former Rovio Mighty Eagle and current Lightneer Co-Founder, Peter Vesterbacka, elaborated on his recent pivot towards education: “After working on Angry Birds, we wanted to move on to something bigger. We wanted to change the world to the better. Education is the way to do that.” He explains his desire to revolutionise the traditional education system: “We’re looking to make education fun. We want to devise a system that nurtures creativity rather than hinders it.”
The newly-introduced Bureiko Lunch at the Dialogue Stage was a massive hit with the audience who relished the opportunity to engage with prominent investors and entrepreneurs without the restriction of keigo, reconstructing a norm in Japanese culture in the process. Following that, an Open Pitch session was held for audience members to pitch their own ideas. Participants certainly took advantage of the opportunity, trying to convince present investors to fund their projects.
The concluding hours of the event were quite surprising. Funderbeam Founder and CEO, Kaidi Ruusalepp, ended her talk with Mistletoe Inc. CEO, Taizo Son, stepping on to the stage. Together, they announced Funderbeam’s major partnership with Mistletoe Inc. The startup saw an investment of a whopping 2M€ by the Tokyo-based Venture Capital Firm.
The schedule for Day 2 promises more excitement. Make sure to check out our program page to keep up with the event, and follow Slush News to check out the Pitch Contest semifinalists later today.
Photos by Petri Anttila