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What would you do with €1,000,000? That’s what we asked Evolena, CEO of Faircado and winner of the Slush 100 Pitching Competition.

A rundown of Slush 100

If you didn’t know what Slush 100 is, no sweat. It’s been described by us in previous years as the “crown jewel” of the Slush event and is a combination of a pitching competition and mentorship program. Last year, over 1000 applications to Slush 100 rolled in and 100 startups from a range of industries were selected to take part.

Through Slush 100, we’re aiming to find every year the most promising startups in Europe and North America. We craft a program full of workshops and mentorship leading up to the Slush event where we help these startups hone their pitch and get connected with the who’s who in the ecosystem.

At Slush 2023, the winner of Slush 100 got an equity investment of €1,000,000 from 5 leading early-stage funds in Europe: AccelGeneral CatalystLightspeed Venture PartnersNEA, and Northzone. These iconic funds have backed historic companies like Meta, Stripe, Airbnb, Snap, Uber, Spotify, Salesforce, Instacart, and Klarna.

Q: In your own words, shortly, who are you (Evolena) and what does Faircado do?

A: Hey! I’m Evolena, the co-founder & CEO of Faircado. We’re on a mission to protect the planet by turning e-commerce into recommerce – one second-hand find at a time. Faircado is your sustainable shopping assistant, making you save time, money and CO2 with zero effort. Download our browser plugin here to see what I mean. Chances are it will blow your mind.

Q: What made you apply for Slush 100? Was there something that surprised you about the competition?

A: Slush 100 is like the Olympics for startups. It’s the dream of every early-stage founder. So I couldn’t resist the chance to tell our story and show off Faircado’s magic to this amazing audience. I have to admit that I did get quite surprised by how nerve-wracking and exciting the whole competition was… But hey, life is boring without a good challenge, right?

A picture of Evolena pitching on Founder Stage at Slush 2023 in front of an audience of 13,000 people. Photo taken by Petri Anttila.

Workshops and mentorship galore

You heard it from her: Slush 100 can be a tad intense. This competition has been designed as a crash course for early-stage startups all the way from application to main stage at Slush. Here’s a little more insight from Evolena on the mentoring and learning sessions organized for the top 20 in the competition:

Q: How did you feel about the mentoring sessions?

A: Getting advice from seasoned pros who brought priceless insights into our product strategy, industry, marketing, etc. was like having a cheat code for startup success.

Q: How did you enjoy the learning sessions (Harry Stebbings for pitch decks and Cal Henderson for building a company)? 

A: It was quite incredible to be sitting on a sofa with Harry and Cal and have them answer all our questions. I especially remember Cal’s point about what makes successful founders: the unreasonable belief in their chances to succeed, and their ability to not give up when failing. It rang a bell or two.

Short, sweet, simple. Evolena highlighted for us the relevance of the sessions and our great guests Harry and Cal, who help share their more unique insights from their respective founding careers. This year’s edition of Slush 100 will be no different when it comes to really focusing on providing as much insight as possible to the founder journey as well as sharing tips and tricks for the ride. At the end of it, there might even be a €1,000,000 pot of gold for you at the end of the rainbow.

The judges of Slush 100, one representative of each VC involved in the €1,000,000 investment, evaluating the pitches presented at the grand final. Photo taken by Petri Anttila.

How Faircado is using 1 million euro prize

Finally, we asked Evolena the big question on our minds: what are you planning on doing with your winnings? Here’s what she had to say:

Q: How will you be using the €1,000,000 investment?

A: We’re going to supercharge our tech, expand our reach, and sprinkle some fairy dust on our marketing. The future looks brighter than a unicorn’s rainbow at the moment! Faircado is ready to change the shopping game, one click at a time.

Q: How has the win overall affected your life?

A: Winning Slush 100 was like getting the golden ticket to startup paradise. Personally? It’s boosted my confidence. I felt like a queen for a sec (and then actually met the actual King and Queen of Belgium and directly got back to earth, don’t worry). It really turned a spotlight on Faircado. Suddenly all investors had their eyes on us. Brand awareness? Through the roof. Customer acquisition? Off the charts. Not too bad, I would say…

So, Slush 100 ultimately isn’t just about the money, but really about the confidence gained, the people you get to meet, and the people that want to get to know you. We thought we’d leave you with a final word of advice from Evolena about the competition before wrapping up:

Q: What advice would you give to someone applying or thinking about applying for Slush 100?

A: If you’re a founder with big dreams and a great idea that will make the world better: what are you waiting for? Apply for Slush 100, like, yesterday! Be yourself, soak up the knowledge, and don’t forget to dazzle them with your vision. It’s a wild ride, but trust me, totally worth it!

Interested in taking part in or seeing the Slush 100 Startup Competition unfold with your own eyes? You can pre-register for Slush 2024 now so you’ll be the first to know when applications open.