Coming down the stairs, standing on front of an electric crowd of over 350 people (live & online) all watching you expectantly, and having to deliver a pitch knowing it can make or break your next milestone, is not for the faint-hearted. As part of the programme for the Dutch mission to Slush, we had 8 promising startups from 4 Dutch technical universities pitch in front of investors, corporates entrepreneurs and even a member of the Dutch royal family, Constantijn van Oranje as Special Envoy for Techleap, at the most 'business minded' hotel in Helsinki: the VALO Hotel.
During an energetic show, pitches from Managescape (a management tool using AI for team composition decisions), Biosphere Solar (revolutionising solar panels), SenseWURk (biosensor for early sepsis detection), Shift (small-scale hydrogen storage systems), SAVR (VR safety training), Sizeright (virtual fitting assistant in an app), Cryocop (turning carbon waste into circular materials) and Aristotle Technologies (tooling for cognitive training) followed each other in rapid succession. Each one was selected during the preliminary rounds held at the separate universities. Each one has the potential to make our world better, safer, cleaner, more equal, healthier and circular. In the past few months, they got help from a broad partner network in overcoming the first hurdles on the way of entrepreneurs, while preparing them for their moment to shine on this international stage.