Growth companies Miika Huttunen took the lead in Slush just before the pandemic – Two years of uncertainty are behind us, which once again casts a shadow over the event

A growth business event Chief Operating Officer of Slush Miika Huttunen took over as CEO of Slush in early 2020.

Huttusen the appointment was announced in February 2020.

Huttusen had to make up for the worries that the daily lives of those in paid employment in Slush included unpaid overtime, compulsory “help” on weekends and burnout.

At the same time, the company’s board urged Hutt to clarify Slush’s intent.

The main theme of the main event in Helsinki in 2020 was planned in January 2020 – before the information on the corona Uncertainty or Uncertainty, says Huttunen at Slush’s head office in Kamppi, Helsinki.

“It was thought that it could resonate over time,” Huttunen smiles.

Then uncertainty became everyone’s daily life.

“I first heard about the corona when our teammate in China Chen told about the case. He was puzzled and I didn’t know what to think about it, ”says Huttunen.

The infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first diagnosed in a Finn on February 26 in Helsinki. It shifted to a time of gradually increasing corona consciousness.

If Huttunen had probably thought of getting into a dream job when he started working – next Mickey Six, which allows you to follow and organize the meetings of the most interesting investors and growth companies from the ground up – now the study path to success was rocky.

Miika Huttunen started as a volunteer at Slush in 2014, and was responsible for partnerships before the CEO was washed and served as Slush’s Chief Operating Officer. Pictured are Outt Poropudas (right), then CEO of Huttunen and Slush, at the Slush event in Helsinki in November 2019. Poropudas has since moved to Lifeline Ventures.

Coronary pandemic as the worries progressed as they grew.

Most of the cost of organizing a giant event comes in advance, and if the event cannot be held, the company’s finances could collapse.

Huttunen recalls that in the spring and winter of 2020, the fairly common view was that the virus would be controlled by the end of the summer at the latest, even though the vaccine was not yet known.

“Slush’s first scenarios were overly optimistic.”

Slush’s board actively examined Huttu and Slush’s team for what the situation would look like if the disease situation became gloomier.

“We quickly realized that in the worst case scenario, our huge team and front-line cost structure can never be maintained, and the entire future of Slush is under threat.”

Huttunen says he learned two things as leader in March:

“The situation must be examined objectively and it must not be allowed to influence what it hopes will happen. And even if you want to go under the rug, you have to go for the pain. ”

Still, the pressure was hard, Huttunen says.

“I spent time on exactly two things: Slush and returning with my girlfriend. I shut down everything else. ”

March in the middle Slush made a complete turn.

The Slush event was decided to be canceled, the Academy internship project for top universities and fast-growing growth companies was suspended and 21 of Slush’s 35 employees were laid off.

“At the same time, it was quite clear that the office lights would not be turned off or the lid of the laptop would be closed,” says Huttunen.

It began to reflect on what a small group can do to help growth entrepreneurs and keep Slush alive.

When there was no money to host a big global online event, Slush’s team began building a web-based community for entrepreneurs in May.

In it, experienced entrepreneurs told in monthly encounters how they had solved some special but common problem for growth entrepreneurs.

Slush was last held spectacularly in 2019.

“Repeal has been considered many times.”

At the end of June, a project called Node was announced.

To the general public, Node turned out to be a joke, but Huttunen tells startup entrepreneurs that the free community serves its purpose well: “Its finesse is peer discussion, mentoring and dialogue.”

First In the interest year, Slush’s net sales fell from more than EUR 11 million to EUR 1 million.

Turnover was achieved through partnership agreements, user fees and various studies, Huttunen says.

“In less than half a year, we made more than a million in sales from scratch.”

Last December, after lengthy deliberations, Slush decided that the main event of 2021 would be held in Helsinki, if at all possible.

“There was no information about the vaccine yet, and what the situation will look like.”

This year has been spent in the wave business, making the most different models possible, Huttunen says.

“Flying restrictions and so on have been investigated. Cancellation has been considered many times. ”

“The gang wants to see each other. Not just the transaction and deals, but above all the community. ”

Significant according to Huttunen, the turnaround took place in the summer, when the pandemic eased to such an extent that the performers of the event began to confirm their arrival and interest arose.

Ticket sales did not begin until early September, five months later, but eight thousand tickets were sold out in five weeks.

Records were broken in the search for volunteers involved in Slush. For example, four times more people applied for leadership positions in different teams than ever before, Huttunen says.

Slush’s CEO Miika Huttunen at Slush’s office in Kamppi.

Slushin the core of popularity is ultimately in the community, Huttunen estimates.

“The gang wants to see each other. Not just the transaction and deals, but above all the community. ”

Huttunen emphasizes that this year’s special feature of Slush is that although the number of visitors is limited to well below half of the last one, there are 1,700 investors in the old model, and there are as many as 3,200 growth entrepreneurs and people working in startups.

Huttunen quotes a technology investor Silicon Quail, which summed up Slush’s change this time to the phrase “talk to the people next to you,” meaning “talk to your roommate”.

In other words, this year’s fellow Slush is likely to be an entrepreneur or financier because there are far fewer other people.

December 1-2 Helsinki will come to life in connection with the Slush on

Slush has recorded more than 200 side events where various technology entrepreneurs and investors hold their own meetings. In addition, there are a lot of events that don’t even spoil Slush.

Many people want to come to Helsinki because of the community, even if they do not go to Slush, Huttunen says.

Slush’s idea is largely that financiers and entrepreneurs can meet each other in a couple of days, eat and drink together, and share moments where they feel they are in the right reference group at the right time so that chance can bring in some more surprising element.

“It shows up as racing equipment. We are competing for attention here, ”admits Huttunen.

“The key to Slush’s success is not in the figures. The main measure is an experience that will be remembered for years or decades to come. Is Slush useful for business, and did I have fun? ”

When The Slush population is beginning to arrive in Helsinki, and the number of corona infections is rising sharply in many countries. It creates its shadow, even though a corona passport is used at Slush’s events and masks are worn at the Exhibition Center.

“The latest recommendations have no impact on organizing Slush according to the current plan. We require each visitor to use a corona pass and a mask for both the main event and our official side events. This has been our line for a long time and this is how we have communicated to our event visitors from the beginning, ”Huttunen outlined on Wednesday afternoon.

Slush is collaborating with Mehiläinen to test international guests, and guests are offered quick tests and masks upon registration.

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