Slush 2022: startups that braved the cold

Founded more than 10 years ago by the Aaltoes association to promote the development of international entrepreneurship, the Slush Helsinki fair opened its doors on November 17th and 18th, 2022 with a whole series of events in the capital. A retrospective of a great event – with the Web Summit in Lisbon – in the small world of European start-ups.

For a few days – before, during and after the two days of Slush Helsinki 2022 (17-18 November) – the startup ecosystem gathered in the Finnish capital to discuss funding, business opportunities and, of course, technology. 🇧🇷 So 20,000 people are expected this week at this very well organized convention. Unlike the Vivatech event in Paris, entrances are fluid and aisles are well laid out enough to allow visitors to move from one area to another. An example to follow for the French living room.

During this event at the Helsinki Congress Center, we found local start-ups such as IQM specializing in quantum computing or Teraloop in energy management, a Ukrainian delegation, as well as young shoots from the French delegation gathered around the FrenchTech pavilion. We’ll return next week to IQM and the agreement with Atos to promote and market quantum computers, particularly in the context of quantum accelerators that are grafted onto HPC systems to perform certain calculations more quickly. IQM has already marketed its systems in Germany at LRZ in Leibniz and in Finland at CSC.

Relaxed but studious atmosphere in the halls of the Slush 2022 show. (SL credit)

37 start-ups in the French delegation

On the French side, the FrenchTech pavilion welcomed 37 start-ups selected with BusinessFrance, 17 of which will exhibit in successive stands. ClĂ©ment Lepert, coordinator of BusinessFrance’s digital technology department, explained to us that French startups such as Bublr, Daylindo or Offishall seek notoriety on the European scene and seek additional funds to guarantee their development. 🇧🇷 But as Bruno Ronzanin, technical director at Offishall, explained to us, “investors are very present at this event, but we don’t have many commitments. Above all, there is a lot of communication around the VCs.”

A modest stand for FrenchTech, the priority was to bring a large number of start-ups to Slush. (SL credit)

A word about the solution developed by the start-up Offishall, founded in 2020 by Audrey Barbier-Litvak, former head of Wework France. It intends to respond to the upheavals in the world of work – following the pandemic – with a strong development of hybrid work in companies, namely a few days of teleworking per week or per month. Team leaders today need to juggle their employees’ schedules to know who is coming to the office and who isn’t to organize onsite or remote meetings. With its solution capable of interfacing with HR tools such as Lucca (to integrate a project) or Workday (with Azure Active Directory), Offishall offers a finer management of employee schedules with a quick view of those present, the possibility of knowing where colleagues are installed and the creation of workgroups. Marketed in SaaS mode, Offishall’s solution is hosted by Digital Ocean, in Frankfurt and Amsterdam, with a strong focus on latency to ensure a good response time. Among the young session’s clients, let’s mention L’OrĂ©al, BHV or BeForBank (CrĂ©dit Agricole group). To date, Offishall employs around ten people.

Showing great mastery of his subjects, Offishall’s technical director, Bruno Ronzani, was on the deck of Slush 2022. (SL Credit)

If the solutions around the metaverse were very numerous at the fair, another French startup called Bublr developed an engagement platform in a collaborative 3D environment (in a browser with or without virtual reality glasses). Created in 2021 by Nassim Hadjoudj (co-founder and general manager) and FrĂ©dĂ©ric Bussières (co-founder and technical director), this company, which claims to have a “virtual” headquarters in Corrèze, is aimed at the training, communication and and HR with a platform offering to bring employees or partners together in a virtual hub. Prices are reasonable, €25 per location, and an external graphic design studio can ensure the integration of specific elements of a company’s graphic identity (logo and color) and the creation of basic avatars. The idea is not to present a design as neat as the Meta Pro project, but rather an easy-to-implement platform for collaborative projects and commercial actions. The Bublr platform is hosted by OVH and Amazon, according to the customer’s wishes and needs. “GDPR and security are requested by many customers and, if necessary, storage can be done on a local server,” said Nassim Hajoudj. Decathlon and a large insurance group already rely on Bublr for their virtual communication.

The two co-founders of Bublr (with just a B), Nassim Hadjoudj and Frédéric Bussières, in the small alley of French start-ups in Slush. (SL credit)

blue collar training

Still at the French stand, we met the Daylindo team, which deals with training trades and, more specifically, workers with its SaaS solution. “Executives have benefited from e-learning training for several years, but workers in the field cannot access the same tools”, explains Gerardo Marcotti, founder and general manager of Daylindo. “To train apprentices, National Education has few tools to help teachers monitor and evaluate the evolution of an employer’s apprentice skills portfolio”. The same for monitoring people undergoing professional reintegration. Orange uses this SaaS tool to train and support the upskilling of its installers (fiber and others), who are often hired by subcontractors, with tutorials and videos. Founded in 2017, with a product reaching maturity in 2021, Daylindo also hosts its solution at OVH. The start-up employs around fifteen people in the Paris region and Alsace.

All those start-ups that benefited from a first round of funding or capital to start their activities have settled in Finland in the hope of gaining notoriety and attracting investors in search of the next nugget. But the competition is tough on the Slush show with imposing delegations like Germany. Even the Polish flag displayed a more impressive flag than that of France. “The other countries spend a lot of money on the stands”, the Business France coordinator admitted to us, “France’s position is to better support startups, with efforts invested in talking to put before solutions”. Business France’s ambition at this fair is, of course, to promote French start-ups, but also to attract investment in France, such as that of the start-up IQM, which opened an office in Paris with two representatives, but also large international companies.

In two parts, the German stand at Slush was really huge. (SL credit)

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