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Helsinki becomes tech world epicentre as Slush takes centre stage

The Finnish capital raises the curtain on the annual tech orgy known as Slush this week. It is the place to be for hopeful startups angling for big investor bucks as well as for financiers prospecting for winning bets.

Slush juliste.
Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

Each year Slush organisers claim that the current year’s event will be or has been the biggest and most successful yet. Helsinki will get a chance to test those claims as the annual technology blowout gets started on Wednesday.

Celebrating its ninth year as a welcome ray of light in the gloom of Finnish November, organisers say they are expecting 15,000 attendees this year.

Indications are that Slush has become such a hot commodity that latecomers looking for lodgings will be hard pressed to find accommodation in the Finnish capital this week.

Buzz, bright lights - and serious business too

The event is rolling out big guns in the tech world such as Spotify founder Daniel Ek -- and the Crown Prince of Norway, Haakon.

Although the event’s rap sheet indicates it has leaned on glitzy light-and-sound elements to wow participants over the years, many turn up for the serious business of finding financial backers and seeking investment opportunities.

According to the event website, one of six stages will be reserved entirely for the techies delivering "pitches" -- compelling briefs that aim to reel in potential sponsors willing to part with their money.

The other five stages will feature the leading lights of technology "sharing stories in fireside chats and keynotes" and "sparking a dialogue on the future."

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