Heilbronn Slush’D: A Festival of 750 People
Heilbronn Slush’D was organized by Campus Founders, aiming to make Heilbronn, a small city of 300,000 people the center of the German startup ecosystem – and they definitely succeeded at it, at least for that one day.
The organization process was led by Corey Wright along with Laura Bachofen von Echt, and since the beginning, the team wanted to build an event around startups and pitching. What was thought to be an event of around 150 people focused on pitching, turned out to become a festival of 750 people.
And I can tell you, what a ride it was – at least from the Slush point of view. Wondering what the team in Heilbronn thought about the organization process? What were the key learnings, not to forget what was the impact of hosting Heilbronn Slush’D in their view? Well, you’ll be hearing that from the team!
BECOMING PART OF THE SLUSH’D COMMUNITY
The goal was to create a startup conference turned into a festival by providing an inspiring, unusual event atmosphere with a mixture of pitching opportunities for startups, networking, a main stage for panels, and an after party to strengthen the connection within the community and attract talent not yet part of it. It was amazing how Heilbronn Slush’D helped give the local startup community broad visibility in the German ecosystem!
The vision & mission of Slush matched perfectly with ours. Thus, we were immediately thrilled to foster this value-driven approach and organize Slush’D in Heilbronn. We also believe to have been able to make a statement and get visibility as an emerging startup ecosystem located in a region far away from well known hubs in Berlin or Munich.
THE HIGHS AND LOWS
The result of Heilbronn Slush’D exceeded our expectations. Even more importantly, the feedback gotten from participants shows us that they were positively surprised by the event and the conversations had. One of the most rewarding things for us was selling out a couple of days before the event.
Organizing an event with the Slush brand created some expectations from the community. To make this event happen at relatively short notice and at the same time and meet these expectations became a bigger than expected challenge for us. The ability to learn from the experience, and meet with the folks running various aspects of Slush in Helsinki was extremely valuable. It was also wonderful to be able to meet the other Slush’D organizers and get their input, feedback, and direction.
Although the experience of organizing this event absolutely exceeded our expectations, there are still some things we’re definitely taking away from the process. First, we would have needed more time and secondly, just put someone in charge of the ticket sales! Thus, some small but important things.
A tip we would give all people wanting to organize a Slush’D event is do or don’t. There’s no trying. With successful execution, you can create momentum for your startup ecosystem. Really commit to it and build it for your community. This commitment to the ecosystem must be long-term and sustainable. Our goal for 2023 is to build upon the success of the first Heilbronn Slush’D.
The team truly did an amazing job bringing together the startup ecosystem of a city as small of a city as Heilbronn, and furthermore, getting all of Germany’s eyes on them. When we started off our cooperation in early 2022, we knew that the event would be good but we had no idea it would be this good and had a really positive impact on the community.
Do you want to know more about organizing a Slush’D event in your hometown? Head over here to find more information about Slush’D!
In case any questions pop up, send them over to [email protected].