Long-time Slusher, Aino Bergius, 25, has been appointed CEO with a decade’s worth of Slush experience and a firm belief in startups’ ability to change the world.
From Info Team Volunteer to CEO
Newly appointed Slush CEO, Aino Bergius, has an impressive history with Slush dating back to her volunteer days a decade ago. With a total of 7 Slush events under her belt, Aino hasn’t gotten enough of the famous Slush magic.
“I volunteered for Slush for the first time in 2014, and little did I know how much one event could shape young Aino’s life. Back then I was a high schooler, and I ended up volunteering 4 times in a row. Year after year, I was trusted with more responsibilities and learned so much that I simply couldn’t get enough of the Slush community,” Aino says.
Aino found her way to the Slush full-time team after igniting a spark towards entrepreneurship.
“I found myself back at Slush in 2020 to begin my career as a full-time Slusher working with partnerships and later as COO & CFO. I returned after learning that entrepreneurship is the most efficient way to change the world, and I wanted to be a part of that change — so here we are,” she says.
Aino will lead Slush together with a newly built leadership team: Elin Dölker (President), Noora Saksa (CFO & COO), Henri Mäkivirta (CPO), and Annastiina Koivusalo (CCO).
Aino onstage at the Opening Show of Slush 2023 photographed by Dustin Preick
Slush — a launchpad for future founders
Having seen Slush’s impact on the people who build it year after year, Aino firmly stands by Slush’s power to create new founders in addition to supporting existing ones.
“Over the past decade, over 10,000 young and young-at-heart startup enthusiasts have taken their very first steps in the startup ecosystem by volunteering at Slush. Since Slush itself emulates a startup in many ways, it’s an excellent launchpad for future founders, operators, or venture capitalists. In fact, Slush alumni have founded over 40 companies either in or supporting the European tech ecosystem,” states Aino.
Aino hopes to continue cultivating a culture of learning and opportunity for Slush employees and volunteers, as she, herself, has experienced it firsthand.
“As a personal note, when working as COO at Slush for the past two years, I’ve learned to run a company on par with the best European startups of comparable size. I’ve seen and experienced firsthand how Slush can positively impact young people by getting them excited about tech and entrepreneurship. I want to share that excitement with others, just like Slush did for me,” Aino says.
Aino Bergius (right), CEO, and Elin Dölker (left), newly appointed President, at the Slush office photographed by Henri Maronen.
Ruthlessly focusing on European startup founders
With Aino’s lead, Slush will continue to build the most founder-focused event in the world — without compromise.
“At Slush, we ruthlessly focus on serving European startups. We actively prioritize founders in everything we do, and I firmly believe that by helping them on their journey to build better companies, we will pave the way for success across the board. As a result, Slush’s aspiration is not to be the largest startup event in the world, but the top choice for early-stage founders worldwide,” Aino says.
As for her own dream, seeing a world with a more diverse generation of founders is what keeps her believing in why Slush matters.
“We believe that people solve the problems they face themselves, so the more diverse group of founders we have, the broader the range of challenges we’ll tackle. It is our responsibility to drive this change. After all, the tech built today defines what the future looks like,” concludes Aino.
Slush 2024 will take place in Helsinki, Nov 20–21. The Slush team has begun building the event, which will have a higher concentration of startup founders and investors than ever before.