16 Nov 2015

Slush 2015 Aftermath: Angels & Virtual Reality

Slush is one of the biggest annual start-up events in northern Europe. Again this year 15.000 entrepreneurs, inventors, speakers, geeks, investors and other enthusiastic people from all around the globe were queuing in the rain to get their Slush badges.

Slush entrance

Amazingly, this was the first time for Devilabs and me personally at Slush. I must admit that I had pretty mixed expectations about it from both personal and professional points of views. On the other hand I had heard only praising comments about it and the media seems to love everything related to Slush. So I was pretty sure it would be an awesome WOW experience from personal point of view. But still I wasn’t quite convinced about the business side…could it really help boost our business? And if so, how?

The simple answer is YES it can and in many ways! From where I am standing, the most awesome part of Slush for start-ups is attracting investors’ attention. And there are many opportunities to do just that: booths, pitching competitions, 1-to-1 investor meetings or just meeting random investors at the lunch. What I found by far the most interesting were those investor meetings. I had several meetings with VCs and angel investors; all of which were excellent and I’m sure we will continue discussions with many of them. Slush offers a very handy matchmaking tool thru which you can search for the most interesting and fitting investors for your company and book a 30-minute 1-to-1 meeting at the most convenient time for you.

This is what Slush is all about!

Slush green stage

For me, the two days at Slush offered many memorable moments but if I was to mention one other highlight that I especially remember from Slush 2015, it would be virtual reality. It was exactly 20 years ago when I participated in Assembly ’95 in this very venue and they were demoing something strange there, something they called virtual reality helmet or HMD (Head-Mounted Display) as they liked to call it back in the day. The helmet in question was Forte VFX1 and it had a exceptionally narrow field of view, extremely slow refresh rate, unbelievably dark screen and a very crappy resolution. But it’s most amazing feature was making the users head ache just after 10 seconds of Doom playing.

Still, I was immediately blown away! I wanted one. Well, I didn’t get it and unfortunately the next 15 or so years were not that rosy for virtual reality scene and all the hype faded away.

Forte VFX1

A group of exhibitors and showgoers demonstrate the virtual reality Vfx1 Headgear made by Forte Technologies, Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., during Comdex/Fall’95 Wednesday, Nov. 15, l995.
(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

But Slush 2015 seems to disagree! The amount of VR related products, innovations, speaks and most of all hype was just stunning. Nokia, Samsung and other big players were demoing their virtual reality hardware, companies such as Unity 3D were promoting their VR software. Even Finnair booth had a virtual reality tour of their new terminal.

Based on Slush, it is pretty clear to me that virtual reality is finally here, this time to stay. It has reached the necessary maturity from hardware and software points of views and it is finally cheap enough for consumers. Very exciting times!

All in all, Slush is something amazing. Enthusiastic and energetic people everywhere, start-ups meeting investors, innovations of tomorrow being presented and people having a fun time. Just the right kind of atmosphere Finland and the whole Europe needs!

Thank you Slush! See you next year!

About Markus Leinonen

Co-Founder/CxO of Devilabs and a bulletproof Geek. Certified HPE data center instructor with experience from hundreds of trainings and consultation. Markus shares his own experiences, opinions and visions about everything geeky from business point of view.

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