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Helsinki turns into the epicenter of entrepreneurship during the Slush week. With our audience of 8,000 startup aficionados including up-and-coming startup founders, some of the biggest investors in the game, and the key players of the fastest-growing companies, these stories are bound to break.
DISCOVER THE STORIES WORTH TELLING
Slush 2021 offers an exclusive group of 160 journalists two days full of exhilarating content: meet the founders of emerging startups and break the news on top tech companies and product launches. We offer curated information and tips on the best stories that are emerging at Slush. In 2019, 700 editors, writers, and reporters from all over the world joined Slush, reaching over 6000 pieces of coverage in different technology and business publications.
And don’t forget Media Day on Nov 30 – a headstart to the two days at Slush.
“WINDOW TO THE FUTURE.”
Tony is Principal at Future Shape, an investment and advisory firm coaching deep tech startups. Currently, Future Shape is coaching over 200+ startups innovating game-changing technologies.
Tony is an active investor and entrepreneur with a 30+ year history of founding companies and designing products that profoundly improve people’s lives.
He is the founder and former CEO of Nest, the company that pioneered the “Internet of Things.” Tony was the SVP of Apple’s iPod Division and led the team that created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone. Throughout his career Tony has authored more than 300 patents. In May 2016, TIME named the Nest Learning Thermostat, the iPod and the iPhone as three of the “50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time.”
About Future Shape
Founded: 2014 | HQ: France | Stage: Series A–Series B
Renate Nyborg is General Manager at EMEA at Tinder. On September 10, 2021, the company announced that she will be taking over as CEO. With over 15 years experience building mobile and subscription businesses, Renate joined Tinder in 2020 to lead its European operations.
Renate joined Tinder from Headspace, where she built and led its first international product and marketing team. She previously spent four years at Apple, where she led the App Store subscription business in Europe. Renate is also the founder of Pleo, a human-centric app design studio, and was the first-ever Global Director of Mobile at Edelman.
Renate is of Norwegian and Dutch origin and has worked in London, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Paris, and Switzerland. She is a Philosophy graduate from the University of Cambridge. Renate currently lives in Europe with her husband, whom she met on Tinder and her three stepkids. She loves food, her piano, and music, and can often be found hiking or Nordic skiing around the Alps.
Founded: 2012 | HQ: United States | Funding: €682M | Industry: Social Media
Peter Carlsson is Founder and CEO of Northvolt, a company on a mission to build Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery factory. Having raised $6.5 billion of funding to date, Northvolt works with the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world such as BMW and Volkswagen.
Before founding Northvolt, Peter worked as CPO and Head of Supply Chain at Tesla Motors. He left these positions at the end of 2015 to become an entrepreneur, advisor, and angel investor. Prior to Tesla, Peter worked as Chief Product Officer in several notable companies such as NXP (former Philips Semiconductors) and Sony Ericsson.
Peter holds an M.SC. in Economics, Production, and Quality Control from Luleå Technical University.
Founded: 2016 | HQ: Sweden | Funding: €4,0B | Industry: Energy
Luciana Lixandru is Partner at Sequoia, where she focuses on enterprise and consumer technology companies across Europe. Luciana works closely with companies like Xentral and Getir, and is passionate about helping founders at all stages to unlock their potential and think on a global scale.
Prior to becoming Sequoia’s first partner in Europe, Luciana worked at Accel for eight years, where she led investments in UiPath, Deliveroo, Miro and Hopin. She has also held positions at Summit Partners and Morgan Stanley.
Luciana holds a B.S. in Economics and Mathematics from Georgetown, and currently resides in London.
About Sequoia Capital
Founded: 1972 | HQ: United States | Stage: Seed–Growth
Guillaume Pousaz is Founder and CEO of Checkout.com, an online payments platform.
Founded in 2012, Checkout.com is now one of the world’s largest fintech companies with 13 offices and a team of over 750 people.
Originally from Switzerland, Guillaume has since lived all over the world while driving Checkout.com’s ambitious international expansion.
Founded: 2012 | HQ: United Kingdom | Funding: €755M | Industry: Fintech
Sarah Wang is Partner at Andreessen Horowitz where she focuses on late stage venture investments across enterprise, consumer, FinTech, and bio.
Prior to joining Andreessen Horowitz, she was a Vice President at TA Associates, a global growth equity firm that has raised €27.4B since 1968. Sarah also served on the board of DiscoverOrg/ZoomInfo, which scaled to €295M of revenue in the enterprise sales and marketing intelligence sector. Before TA, Sarah was an early stage investor at DCM Ventures and Radicle Impact. Her career started at Boston Consulting Group and Morgan Stanley Global Capital Markets.
Sarah holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where she was a Siebel Scholar and Arjay Miller Scholar. She holds a BA in Economics from Harvard. Sarah grew up in the midwest across North Dakota and Chicago.
About Andreessen Horowitz
Founded: 2009 | HQ: United States | Stage: Seed-Growth
Denis Sverdlov is Founder and CEO of Arrival. Founded in 2015, arrival aims to revolutionize the auto industry through a new method of designing and producing vehicles. Arrival has rapidly grown into a global company with over 1,9000 employees and investments from Hyundai, Kia, UPS, and funds managed by BlackRock.
Prior to Arrival, Denis built and successfully exited multiple companies. His tech career began with Yota – a telecoms company that pioneered the biggest 4G network in Russia. After scaling the company to 1, 200 employees and achieving the highest revenue per employee in the world, Denis sold Yota in 2012 for $1.5 billion. He is also Founder of Roborace – the world’s first autonomous electric racing platform.
Founded: 2015 | HQ: United Kingdom | Funding: €574M | Industry: Transportation
Sonali De Rycker
Sonali De Rycker is Partner at Accel. She joined the VC firm in 2008 and focuses on consumer (especially marketplaces), next-generation financial services and software companies.
Sonali led Accel’s investments in Avito (acquired by Naspers), Spotify (NYSE: SPOT), Primer, MerxU, Calastone, Monzo, Shift Technology, Letgo (acquired by Naspers), Kry/Livi, Soldo, Hopin, and Sennder. Prior to Accel, Sonali was with Atlas Venture (now Accomplice). She also previously served on the board of Match.com (NASDAQ:MTCH).
Sonali is from Mumbai and graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Harvard Business School.
Founded: 1983 | HQ: United States | Stage: Seed–Growth
Jonathan Lai is a partner on the consumer investing team at Andreessen Horowitz where he focuses on games, crypto, and social. Today, Jon serves on the board of Elodie, Mainframe Industries, Mountaintop, Singularity 6, and StarStock.
Before joining Andreessen Horowitz, Jon led the North America games investments team at Tencent. Prior, Jon was a product manager at Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, where he shipped the Riot API and Merch Store before the company was acquired by Tencent. He started his career in investment banking for Morgan Stanley.
Jon graduated from Harvard University with an MBA and BA in Economics, and lives in the Bay Area with his family.
About Andreessen Horowitz
Founded: 2009 | HQ: United States | Stage: Seed-Growth
Lila Ibrahim is COO at DeepMind, a London-based research community building safe AI systems. At DeepMind, Lila oversees both technology and organizational infrastructure including Engineering, Operations, and People.
Originally a microprocessor engineer, Lila has helped grow some of the world’s leading technology companies including Intel, venture firm Kleiner Perkins, and Coursera, where she was the first executive hire.
Lila is Co-founder and Chair of education technology non-profit Team4Tech. She has previously served on the Board of Gannett, helping it become the largest US print media company. Her exceptional impact has been recognized by a Henry Crown Fellowship from the Aspen Institute and the Anita Borg Institute Award for Social Impact.
Founded: 2010 | HQ: United Kingdom | Funding: Acquired by Google | Industry: Enterprise Software
Arvind Gupta is Partner at Mayfield. He co-leads Mayfield’s Engineering Biology practice, investing in transformational companies. Arvind was the first investor in breakout companies such as Geltor, Synthex, Prime Roots, NotCo, Prellis, New Culture, DNA Lite, and Upside Foods.
As Founder of IndieBio, Arvind redefined early stage biotech, investing in over 136 companies, growing the IndieBio portfolio’s value into billions of dollars. Prior to founding IndieBio, Arvind was Design Director at IDEO in Shanghai. Arvind is also the author of Decoding the World: A Roadmap for the Questioner.
Arvind is a BASE jumper and big wall climber, and now fights submission grappling. Arvind holds 8 patents and is married to an Icelander and has two daughters. He holds a BSs in Genetic Engineering from UCSB.
Founded: 1969 | HQ: United States | Stage: Early Stage
Sujata Bhatia is COO at Monzo, the UK neobank on a mission to make money work for everyone.
Before joining Monzo, Sujata was a Senior Vice President & GM for Global Merchant Services Europe at American Express. In her early career, she was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in London and worked at Goldman Sachs and Ernst & Young.
Sujata holds her MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business. Originally from Boston, Sujata resides in London. Even so, she remains an avid Boston sports fan.
Founded: 2015 | HQ: UK | Funding: €622M | Industry: Fintech
Nicolas Julia is Co-founder and CEO of Sorare, the fantasy football platform building a revolutionary gaming experience that sets a new standard for how fans worldwide connect to the clubs and players they love.
Prior to co-founding Sorare, Nicolas was the VP of Operations at Stratumn – a SaaS software developer for large companies. He holds an MSc in Management from EM Lyon and an MSc in Economics from the Hanken School of Economics.
Founded: 2018 | HQ: France | Funding: €50M | Industry: Gaming
Christina Cacioppo is Founder and CEO of Vanta, a leading security and compliance platform backed by Sequoia Capital.
Born in the Midwest and based in Silicon Valley, Christina Cacioppo sits at the intersection of security, tech, and business. After starting her career in early stage VC at Union Square Ventures, Christina went on to lead product management for Dropbox Paper, bringing the product to market. With Vanta, the Y Combinator alum is pioneering a continuous, automated approach to security monitoring.
Christina received her Masters in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and has taught Entrepreneurial Design courses at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In her spare time, she reads books, runs with no destination, and cooks Sunday dinners for friends.
Founded: 2017 | HQ: United States | Funding: €48M | Industry: Cybersecurity
Andrey Khusid is Co-founder and CEO of Miro, a collaborative whiteboard platform. Miro currently has over 20M users around the world, including 95% of the Fortune 100 companies.
Prior to Miro, Andrey was Founder of Vitamin Group, an award-winning creative agency.
Founded: 2011 | HQ: United States | Funding: €68M | Industry: Enterprise Software
Linnéa Kornehed is Co-founder and CMO of Einride, a Swedish company focusing on all-electric autonomous transport vehicles. Their mission is to design and develop intelligent technologies for movement. Einride has worked with several companies such as Coca-Cola, Oatly, Lidl and Electrolux, helping them switch to sustainable transport.
Einride has been recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies according to Fast Company.
Prior to founding Einride, Linnéa worked as a Business Solutions Consultant at Forefront Consulting. Linnéa has twice been on Forbes’ prestige list of Europe’s hottest entrepreneurs and is also a TEDx speaker.
Founded: 2016 | HQ: Sweden | Funding: €138M | Industry: Transportation
Michael Acton Smith
Michael Acton Smith is Co-founder and Co-CEO of Calm, the leading digital health brand for mental fitness, meditation, and sleep. Calm has grown to over 100 million downloads, was the Apple 2017 app of the year, and is the world’s first mental health unicorn.
Long fascinated by neuroscience, flow states, and mental fitness, Michael is passionate about spreading meditation as a simple yet valuable skill around the world.
Prior to Calm, Michael was Founder of Ping Pong Fight Club, and Berwickstock music festival. In 2014, he was awarded an OBE for services to the Creative Industries.
Founded: 2012 | HQ: United States | Funding: €198M | Industry: Health & Wellbeing
Nazim Salur is Founder of Getir, a rapid delivery service company that distributes over 1,500 everyday items within minutes. With an established status in Turkey, where the company trends towards a super-app, and a London launch behind it, Getir has further European and US expansion on the horizon.
Prior to Getir, Nazim launched his first tech startup in 2012, BiTaksi, which brought people taxis in three minutes.
Nazim holds a BBA from Bogazici University.
Founded: 2015 | HQ: Turkey | Funding: €924M | Industry: Delivery
April Koh is Co-founder and CEO of Spring Health, a comprehensive mental health benefits platform for employers.
April has received honors from the American Psychiatric Association and has been featured in numerous news outlets such as Forbes 30 under 30. She is also a Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Fellow.
About Spring Health
Founded: 2016 | HQ: United States | Funding: €96M | Industry: Health
Bucky is Partner at Kleiner Perkins, where he focuses on software and infrastructure investments. He is a board member and early investor in companies like Netlify, Materialize, Labelbox, Teleport, Rudderstack, Open Raven, Prisma, Calixa, and Codesandbox.
Prior to entering the venture capital business in 2014, Bucky was a member of Cisco’s Corporate Development team, where he executed on various M&A, investment, and partnership opportunities on behalf of its Data Center and Cloud Business Units.
Bucky holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Southern California.
About Kleiner Perkins
Founded: 1972 | HQ: United States | Stage: Seed-Growth
Yanni Pipilis is Managing Partner at SoftBank Vision Fund, the largest technology-focused investment fund in the world. Prior to joining SoftBank, Yanni was at Deutsche Bank AG, where he held a number of leadership positions in London and New York. Most recently he served as Global Head of Fixed Income and Currencies.
He holds an MSc in Finance and an MSc in Civil Engineering from Imperial College London and a BEng in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University College London.
About SoftBank Vision Fund
Founded: 2017 | HQ: United Kingdom | Stage: Growth
Sophia is Partner at Cherry Ventures. Sophia is based in Stockholm, where she brings her expertise in the Nordics, femtech, and marketing to the Cherry network. As a passionate advocate for diversity, Sophia also works to enhance diversity and inclusion across European tech.
Before joining Cherry Ventures Sophia played a pivotal role in the early days of Spotify as the audio platform’s Global Marketing Director. She helped launch the company in 56 markets. At the time, Sophia began shifting to VC and also began angel investing, having now over 45 companies in her portfolio. Eventually she joined Atomico, where she created their angel program.
About Cherry Ventures
Founded: 2013 | HQ: Germany | Stage: Early Stage
Quinn Slack is Co-founder and CEO of Sourcegraph, the company pioneering universal code search for dev teams and making coding more accessible to more people. Many of the world’s leading companies are Sourcegraph customers, including 3/5 FAANG, PayPal, Uber, Plaid, GE, Yelp, and Atlassian. The company is valued at €2.22B from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Redpoint, and Craft Ventures and other leading investors.
Founded: 2013 | HQ: United States | Funding: €210M | Industry: Software
Eileen Burbidge is Partner at Passion Capital, the pre-eminent early-stage technology venture fund based in London. She brings extensive operational experience to her investment activities gleaned from business and product roles at Yahoo!, Skype, Apple and elsewhere. On behalf of Passion, Eileen serves as non-executive director on a number of fast growing SMEs including Monzo Bank, Digital Shadows, Marshmallow and Butternut Box among others.
Eileen is also HM Treasury’s Special Envoy for FinTech appointed by the Chancellor, Tech Ambassador for the Mayor of London’s office and served on former UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group as well as Chair of Tech Nation for 5 years. Eileen is also a member of the board of Dixons Carphone.
She was made an MBE for services to Business in June 2015 and holds a BSc Engineering degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
About Passion Capital
Founded: 2011 | HQ: United Kingdom | Stage: Seed and Early Stage
Andrew Reed is Partner at Sequoia. He focuses on software, consumer, and fintech investments in product- and design-driven companies around the world. He is involved with Figma, Robinhood, Tourlane, and Front, among others. Andrew was also involved with Sequoia’s 2015 investment in GitHub (acquired in 2018). Prior to Sequoia, Andrew worked at Goldman Sachs in the technology, media, and telecom group in San Francisco. Andrew has a B.A. with distinction in economics and classics from Amherst College
Jochen Engert is Co-founder and CEO of FlixMobility, where he is responsible for Corporate Development & Strategy. FlixMobility is the world’s leading platform for long-distance bus and train traveling.
Prior to launching FlixMobility with the brands FlixBus and FlixTrain, Jochen worked as Strategy Consultant for Boston Consulting Group in Munich, Germany.
Jochen studied Business Administration with a technical and financial orientation at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Ottawa.
Founded: 2011 | HQ: Germany | Funding: €805M | Industry: Mobility
Katherine Boyle is Partner at General Catalyst, working with founders from seed to growth stage and beyond to build companies that withstand the test of time. She leads GC’s investments focusing on civic technology and co-leads General Catalyst’s seed program. Katherine also sits on the board of companies like Anduril, Titan, Hallow, Nova Credit, Literati, and Spring Discovery. Prior to becoming an investor, she was a staff reporter at The Washington Post.
Katherine holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from the National University of Ireland.
About General Catalyst
Founded: 2000 | HQ: United States | Stage: Seed–Growth
Aleksander Leonard Larsen
Aleksander is Co-founder and COO of Axie Infinity, where he is responsible for handling the business side of the company. Aleksander has worked in the NFT industry since late 2017, focusing on blockchain games and player-owned economies. He also serves on the board of directors in the Blockchain Game Alliance where he holds the secretary position.
Before co-founding Axie Infinity, he worked for the Norwegian state and spent his free time playing games and building gaming communities. Aleksander has represented Norway in Warcraft 3 and Dota 1 and has been ranked as one of Europe’s top 200 players in Dota 2.
About Axie Infinity
Founded: 2018 | HQ: Vietnam | Funding: €7.7M | Industry: Video Games
Andrew Beebe is Managing Director of Obvious Ventures. He brings to the firm a lifelong passion for building companies around sustainable systems, with nearly two decades of experience in clean technology and clear energy solutions.
Andrew embarked on his cleantech journey in 2003 with founding Energy Innovations, a company he grew from a business plan to a major solar developer serving customers like Google, Disney, Sony Pictures, and British Telecom. After being acquired by Suntech in 2008, Andrew served as its CCO and Vice Presidea nt of Global Product Strategy. During his tenure, Suntech became the largest solar company in the world. After Suntech, Andrew spent two years as Vice President of Distributed Generation for Nextera Energy, the largest clean energy developer in the U.S.
About Obvious Ventures
Founded: 2014 | HQ: United States | Stage: Seed–Series B
Lydia Jett is Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. They invest through Softbank’s vision fund, the largest technology-focused investment fund in the world. Prior to joining the Vision Fund, Lydia was with SoftBank Group Corp International (SBGI), where she led investments in Guardant Health and 10X Genomics.
Lydia was previously Vice President at M/C Partners, a growth equity firm, and Associate at Goldman Sachs in the Principal Investment Area, where she invested across the media and technology sectors.
Lydia is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the London School of Economics, and Smith College.
About SoftBank Vision Fund
Founded: 2017 | HQ: United Kingdom | Stage: Growth
Oskari Saarenmaa is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aiven. Aiven is a next-generation managed cloud services company, offering the market leading open source data technologies. The mission of Aiven is to empower businesses around the world and make developers’ lives better.
Aiven has raised €126M and has been scaled on three continents with headquarters in Helsinki and hubs in Berlin, Boston, Toronto and Sydney.
Oskari is a programmer and an open source contributor who truly understands the pain points of developers working with data.
Founded: 2016 | HQ: Finland | Funding: €128M | Industry: Software
Hemant Taneja joined General Catalyst in 2001, the year when the firm launched its Silicon Valley office. Now Hemant is the Managing Director. He invests in founders with authentic missions that have the potential to change entire industries. His investment thesis, known as “economies of unscale,” describes the belief that small, tightly focused companies can leverage web services, datasets, and AI to successfully launch and compete against much larger, more established competitors. His book, Unscaled, explores this thesis in depth and is due out in early 2018.
Hemant’s current investment portfolio ranges across the fields of medicine, finance, and education, including companies such as Stripe, Snapchat, Color Genomics, Gusto, Livongo Health, TuneIn, ClassDojo, Fundbox, Digit, Fractyl, Grammarly, and Gridco Systems.
Alongside his venture work, he has co-founded Advanced Energy Economy, a public policy advocacy group focused on advanced energy solutions and serves on the board of directors of the non-profit education organization Khan Academy. Hemant holds five degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been a lecturer at both MIT and Stanford University.
Benedict Evans has spent 20 years analyzing mobile, media and technology, and worked in equity research, strategy, consulting, and venture capital. He is now an independent analyst, whose newsletter reaches over 150,000 subscribers.
Benedict is known for his yearly presentations that reveal and analyze macro and strategic trends in the tech industry.
Having been Partner at a16z for five years, Benedict is currently Venture Partner at both Entrepreneur First and Mosaic Ventures.
Wendy Xiao Schadeck
Wendy is Partner at Northzone, where she has been investing in early stage companies for the past five years. Wendy has been fascinated with the progression of the web ever since joining Northzone.
Wendy started her career as a management consultant in New York. While working with clients from banking, retail and transportation industries, Wendy realised very early that tech would be taking over the world. It became clear to Wendy that there is something fundamentally special about early-stage companies and the people who build them.
While studying her MBA at Columbia University, Wendy also started CoHatchery, a coworking space with childcare.
Founded: 1996 | HQ: United States | Stage: Early Stage
Ryan Nece is Co-founder and Managing Partner of Next Play Capital. He is also a former NFL player and Super Bowl winner.
Next Play Capital is an investment platform focused on investing in top-tier venture funds and companies, serving a diverse and strategic investor base. NPC has access to top venture managers such as Accel, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, as well as those funds’ top-performing portfolio companies including ByteDance, Exabeam, Flexport, Guild Education, Hims, Impossible Foods, Peloton, Rubrik, and ThoughtSpot.