Recap of Slush 2020 – the year we went from zero to Node
In early February we sat down to discuss the potential theme for the Slush 2020 event. After several days of intense research, talking with people from the ecosystem, and back-and-forth debate, we locked the theme that resonated with all of us: uncertainty. To address the piling sense of uncertainty, our goal was to highlight the importance of bravery, imagination, action, and above all, entrepreneurial resilience.
Today, it feels like a prophecy.
This year shaped up to be the ultimate test of our endurance as individuals and the resilience of our startup ecosystem. Like many other organizations, we had to make difficult decisions in March. We scraped our plans and canceled everything related to building offline events, including Slush 2020. We had to put on hold our dream to build the future of entrepreneurial education, Slush Academy. However, as a CEO, the most difficult and heart-breaking decision was to layoff some of our incredible team members.
After six months of preparation, we found ourselves in a situation where we couldn’t organize our main product and with zero forecasted revenue. But, what we had was a small and incredibly driven team. In April, I wrote: “finding new solutions has always been part of Slush’s DNA, and we are not going to give up our mission now – and neither should you.”
After that, things have developed fast. So fast, that it’s hard to comprehend what we have built and done this year. In May, we launched Slush’s most ambitious research project so far, Entrepreneurship Redefined. In June, we revealed our new product, Node by Slush, the curated online community for founders and investors. In October, we worked together with Index Ventures to organize Not Optional to discuss the practical steps that Europe must take to become the best place to start and grow world-changing startups. In December, we took part in the launch of the annual report State of European Tech – a project we have done since 2015 with Atomico. In addition, we have published tens of articles and podcasts on Soaked by Slush, partnered up with over 30 organizations, and continued our research work.
Node by Slush was built to replace the void left by Slush 2020. Since September, we have organized over 120 sessions from small founder peer groups to fireside chats with people like Daniel Ek, Andrew Chen, Mathilde Collin. In addition, we have piloted multiple concepts to facilitate connections for over 1100 founders in our community. Many of our community founders have been able to raise funding through Node. For Slush’s student-led team, building a product from 0 to 1 in 7,5 months has been the best possible founder school experience.
Going forward it has become clear that the history of our time will be told from the point of view of before and after COVID-19. The same holds true for the story of Slush. In the next 12–18 months, we lay the foundation for what those stories will be. We are guided by our belief that entrepreneurship combined with cutting-edge science and technology is the most powerful force to accelerate world-positive human progress. Therefore, and based on the pilot period, we will continue Node as part of Slush for the upcoming year. We are also optimistic about the future and starting to talk about a possible event for the late Fall of 2021 – if deemed safe for our community.
I’m grateful for everyone who has believed and supported us this year: founders, investors, partners, and Slush community members. Finally, I want to state how incredibly proud I am of our team. Every single one of them has gone above and beyond to re-invent Slush and realize our mission this year as well: create and help founders to change the world.