it takes a lot Sith— Perseverance in Finnish — to get you through Helsinki’s dark and muddy winters. Perseverance or “getting over the slash” is also a necessary trait for every new company. So when it came to naming the startup-focused Helsinki event in 2008, Slush fit the bill.
This year, Slush attracted 12,000 people, making it one of the world’s largest conventions for startups, with two days of matchmaking, pitching, launching, mentoring and showcases.
Colleagues at Fuel, a McKinsey company focused on startups, and Leap by McKinsey, which helps incumbents build new businesses, welcomed entrepreneurs, investors, customers and prospects into the event space and We combined and explored new insights on best practices for growth in .
For new reports, The Hard Choice: How Europe’s Fastest Growing Startup Becomes A Unicorn McKinsey surveyed nearly 100 scale-stage European start-ups to identify key strategies to accelerate growth. This includes decisions like prioritizing product growth over geographic expansion and buying companies for talent, product and her IP over market presence. According to participants, all these aspects of practice were fully demonstrated at the event.
According to Kari Kulojärvi, Managing Partner of the Finland office, the emerging startup landscape in the Nordic and Baltic countries is vibrant and has great potential. He attributes this to several factors. “Universities encourage innovation and develop the first ecosystems where like-minded people can work together,” he says. “They teach students how to start their own companies, make connections, and test their products on the market.”
Kari also points to Finland’s unique heritage in technology, which can be traced to iconic companies such as Nokia. “The same professionals who developed smartphones and mobile phones 10 years ago and have deep expertise in imaging, signal processing and photonics are using that knowledge today to build their own new technologies and companies. he says.
Resilience was a top priority throughout the week as start-ups face rising interest rates, declining public technology valuations, tightening consumer spending and other headwinds. “Despite abundant capital, funding is tight,” says Tobias Lundgren, partner at McKinsey’s office in Stockholm. “Companies need to focus on prudent and profitable growth. And sustainability grows with technology.”
“Investors saw a lot of energy and ideas shaping our future, especially around sustainability and health,” said Sid Ramtri, McKinsey Associate Partner at Slush. He gave some examples: 100% renewable and sustainable data centers, electric motorcycles, AI-based image processing to identify cancer, and even combating the environmental impact of shipping goods. It is an edible packaging material designed to
McKinsey has built a strong track record of supporting both startups and investors. For example, through Leap by McKinsey, we have helped over 350 companies build new businesses. Our Fuel practitioners have also worked with over 450 startups to scale through various stages of growth, from initial strategy setting, to pricing, go-to-market roadmaps and funding platforms.
“Our global expertise allows us to provide insight on any functional or industry topic in the most accessible way,” says Sid. “For example, if there is a Brazilian startup in retail that wants to enter Egypt, we can work with them down to the last detail. I can help.”
According to Kari, working with these new businesses as they move from one stage to the next is a big part of what makes McKinsey stand out in this space. “This shows the startup that we are really partners,” he says. “They appreciate the opportunity to build lasting relationships rather than simply doing transactional work.”