This year, Slush is going to introduce something new on the side of the traditional stage program. We are constantly fighting the battle of how to scale a super-valuable, personal conversation -type of experience for as many attendees as possible. In the following, I’ll walk you through what our first shot at the seemingly impossible task looks like.
After having seen Slush from a startup’s, an investor’s and a speaker’s point of view, I noticed some extremely interesting excess capacity at the event.
Firstly, our speakers, most often being highly successful entrepreneurs, wanted to give back to the early-stage founders present at the event, but we had not yet put in place a system for them to easily do so.
Secondly, our later-stage investors wanted to build meaningful relationships with some of the more further-ahead startups. However, it was challenging for them to find a place where they could meet each other in an effective manner.
Thirdly, and maybe most interestingly, there were startups for which pitching or demo booths weren’t working in that point of their life cycle. This especially seemed to be an obstacle for the most early-stage companies, whose product was still very much under development. These companies are also often the ones that would derive great benefit from a couple of pinpointed answers.
These three notions made our team to rethink our program and we ended up with a couple, pretty simple but hopefully well-functioning solutions. This year, we ask all of our speakers to contribute at least one hour of their time to help the early-stage startups at Slush. Why? Because these successful entrepreneurs and investors are uniquely positioned to help the next founders by answering 2-3 of the most pressing company building questions they have. Everybody started somewhere. In order to make this contribution as effortless and useful as possible, we introduce completely new program concepts for this year’s event.
Speakeasy – The Speed Mentoring Spot
For early-stage founders.
Want 15 minutes one-on-one with some of our most prominent speakers or investors? You got it! Most of our speakers are giving back by contributing an hour of their time at Speakeasy in 15-minute slots. Come prepared with your questions, your co-founder and a very efficient introduction of yourself, and enjoy some of your troubles being swept away – or at least get a fresh perspective to your questions.
You can either pre-book your spot at Speakeasy or line up for a bonus one at the event. The Speakeasy sessions will run on both event days from 10 am to 6 pm.
Startup Station – The Most Concrete Advice from Metrics to Hiring & Firing
For early-stage founders.
The things you will hear at Startup Station are going to be, hopefully, some of the best and most concrete pieces of advice you will receive all year. We have divided the program into two parts:
- On the first day of Slush, feedback sessions by angel investors and VCs for pre-seed company pitches will take place.
- On the second day, we roll in former heads of growth from companies like Airbnb and Tinder, former heads of prestigious medias and partners from some of the top early-stage funds in the world.
We are going to split the air time between you and the speakers more or less evenly; 12-15 minute talks followed by the same amount of discussion. To make this work, we have a restricted 200 spots at Startup Station. The content will be filmed, but I don’t think you want to miss the opportunity of getting your question answered.
Roundtable Discussions – The Most Secretive Part of Slush
For more experienced founders, investors and industry people.
If you think back to the best discussion you have had this year (please do! Feels good, doesn’t it?), I would guess it was with a person you appreciated, lasted more than 5 minutes and was not a monologue. Chances are that it also either initiated or deepened your relationship with the person in a very meaningful way, and now you are more likely to stay in touch and reach out to them when you have the need to do so.
We aim to recreate that experience and even surpass it this year at Slush. If you are a founder with already some traction to your company, we are working hard to match you with some fascinating and resourceful people – who will hopefully surprise you positively – for an intimate 6-person discussion at a hidden-in-plain-sight spot at Slush. We will reach out to the chosen matches directly.