Those of you who have been with us for a while know that we’ve always said that it’s the startups that make winters hot. It’s been almost two years since we held our last in-person event during winter and it will be a while until we return to the raffle that is Latvian winter. Luckily, for those looking to combine rosy cheeks and ice-cold fingers with tech and startups, we don’t have to look too far. So the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia along with 10 of the hottest Latvian startups hopped on a plane to visit the main startup event in Europe – Slush 2021. Is there a better way to dive into winter?
Smaller but with a kick
With only 8,800 attendees Slush 2021 was only a fraction of the glory of the previous editions, but it still packed a serious punch. We’d even argue that the limited attendee number allowed a more intimate and cozy atmosphere, a thing we value a lot at events. Slush has reported that this year’s event was attended by 1700 investors representing almost 1T USD in assets under management. Not only it makes Slush 2021 “the largest gathering of venture capital in the world this year” (source), but also an oasis for startups raising funds.
An Afternoon with Latvia
Attending a huge event without a plan is a recipe for disaster. Sure, a chance encounter can make all the difference, but we weren’t going to leave things up to chance. Thus, thanks to the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, 10 of the most promising up-and-comers in the Latvian startup ecosystem could participate in an investor-matchmaking side event during the first day of Slush 2021. With 50+ participants, we managed to hold around 60 one-on-one meetings with ease in under 2 hours. Our secret sauce? A selection of strong startups from a variety of industries. With a bait so sweet, our side event was hard to beat. So who were these startups and what do they do?
BeeSage and Kedeon both use the Internet of Things (IoT) to leverage real-time data to make data-driven decisions; thus, increasing productivity and sustainability. BeeSage’s Smart Beehive Scales help beekeepers to evaluate the strength of a colony and take advantage of peak blooming periods. In the near future, the startup plans to also introduce their sensor node which will enable bees to share climate knowledge with humans even better. Bees support the production of some of the leading food crops; thus, save the bees – save the planet. Meanwhile, Kedeon provides a snitch for all things food and healthcare. With their KedeNode it is easier than ever to track last-mile deliveries and make sure everything is up to the company’s standards. Temperature, humidity, CO2, and light and color sense are just half of the things this node can measure.
Healthcare is one of the industries that has seen the most improvements over time. Still, there is so much more to improve, that we will never run out for the need of founders looking to help those most vulnerable. Vigo Health, CastPrint, and LightSpace do just that. Vigo is a digital rehabilitation program for stroke victims. It allows stroke victims to start rehabilitation immediately, which is extremely important to ensure the best chances of full recovery. CastPrint brings fracture treatment to the 21st century by creating 3D-printed casts for various types of fracture injuries. The solution is not only lightweight, ventilated, and waterproof but also looks much cooler than traditional plaster casts. In contrast to the above startups, LightSpace is a true deep tech hardware startup that develops augmented reality headsets with main applications in digital surgery and pre-procedural planning, as well as medical education.
We all know that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but ever so often we still do it, don’t we? In business, you can offer an amazing product or service and still fail to sell it if it’s not branded well. While with different approaches, both Corebook and PrintOnPack can help with this. Corebook offers an online brand guidelines platform for the world’s most brilliant brands and their creators. With Corebook, brands can say goodbye to countless PDF versions of their brand book, easily keep everything up to date and give access to whomever, whenever. Once you need to put the branding on an actual product, this is where PrintOnPack comes into play by being matchmakers of the packaging world. Their online marketplace helps companies to find the most suitable flexible packaging providers and significantly optimize the production costs without sacrificing sustainability.
All we know about chemistry is that if you’re on top of your stuff you can do some crazy cool things. We ourselves are staying away from chemistry labs (you’re welcome) and leaving it to professionals like Catalyco, which is changing the tire and rubber industry towards sustainability by reducing scarce material consumption and implementing a circular economy approach where they use waste streams to produce advanced high surface area ZnO. As we said, some crazy cool things.
Due to software complexity, engineering simulation is used by only 1% of all engineers in Research and Development centers. If only there was an easy, affordable, and secure solution. Luckily, that’s exactly what CENOS offers with their industry-specialized 3D electromagnetic simulation software. Being engineers themselves, they are well aware of the actual needs of engineers and develop software apps specialised for the needs of specific industries.
Some may like it, some may not, but we are closing in on becoming a cashless society. Some SMEs might be resistant as 30M merchants in Europe still do not accept card payments, but for how long? To help with the transition maxaa offers a virtual payment terminal, cash register app, and online inventory. Easy to use, remote, and scalable. Rarely having any cash in our pockets ourselves, we’re channeling our inner Creed and welcoming the changes With Arms Wide Open.
Slush 2021 more or less marks the end of the 2021 tech and startup season, but 2022 is just around the corner. While there are still not too many events announced for 2022, there are some that really stand out from the crowd, such as Deep Tech Atelier and TechChill returning next Spring to continue bridging gaps in knowledge, skills, and network.