SLUSH, the largest startup event in the Nordic region, started in Helsinki in 2008. This year’s event was expected to attract about 13,000 visitors, including about 5,000 startups and 3,000 investors, according to the organizers. Startups from Europe, the Nordic countries, and within Finland, as well as from Asia and North America, participated in the event.
Overall, SLUSH, including the stage events, appeared to be trending in the areas of AI, Climatetech, and gaming. Compared to Web Summit, another major European event that our firm has attended in the past, SLUSH seemed to be more modest in terms of size but had a higher percentage of investor participation. The specialized SLUSH app was an effective tool for networking at the venue, particularly between startups and investors or companies.
A total of eight startup companies exhibited at the Japan Pavilion. From Yokohama, Kitafuku Corporation, winner of the Audience Award at the Yokohama Business Grand Prix 2023, exhibited at the Japan Pavilion. This Cleantech company is involved in upcycling malt residue from craft beer production into paper. While the number of breweries is on the rise, most malt residue is currently incinerated, which causes CO2 emissions and other problems. This was the first time for the company to participate in an exhibition, including in Japan.
We have found potential for the future with investors and companies not only from Scandinavia and Europe but also from the Middle East and Asia,” said Shoki Matsuzaka, president and representative director of the company. Regarding the purpose of the exhibition and future prospects, Mr. Shoki Matsuzaka enthusiastically shared his ambitious plans for the future: “We would like to explore with what kind of partners we can develop concrete plans for overseas expansion to sell upcycling know-how and technology as a business model,” and added, “First, we would like to build relationships with logistics, printing companies, breweries, and other companies overseas to establish a successful business model and then bring that model to Japan and expand it nationwide as a model for regional initiatives.