Polkadot at Slush 2024

Dear community,

For the past six months or so, we have been slowly building a proposal to take Polkadot to Slush 2024: https://slush.org/

The gist of the idea is to get out of the crypto bubble and go tie connections among the 13,000 Slush-going founders and investors who might want to explore opportunities in Web3.

Located in Helsinki, Finland, Slush hosts the premier annual startup event in Europe, attracting an elite assembly of startups, top-tier investors, and tech journalists. At Slush, you’ll find that one in every two attendees is a founder and one in every four is a venture capital investor, with the remainder being corporate executives, policymakers, and researchers.

The innovative My Slush app and scannable badges provide a robust lead generation tool, ensuring every interaction could lead to substantial business outcomes—setting Slush apart by turning every lead into a potential opportunity.

Attending Slush 2024 as a team provides an unparalleled opportunity to showcase Polkadot’s capabilities to a broad audience of tech-savvy entrepreneurs and likeminded investors. Our top-notch team of 12 networkers will encourage a selection of the 5,500 founders and 3,300 investors to build the next generation of Web3 businesses in the Polkadot ecosystem.

Our initiative not only supports Polkadot’s technological and community growth but also makes blockchain and web3 technologies accessible and beneficial for diverse sectors, thus driving sustainable growth and innovation in the digital economy.

Please read the proposal and let us know your thoughts.

The draft proposal is open for comments:

Read the earlier discussion here:

7 Likes

I’m excited about the event, it’s an amazing opportunity for Polkadot as Slush attracts thousands of startups, investors, and tech enthusiasts.

There are so many things we can get from it, like getting deep market insights and knowledge. We can connect with key players in the blockchain and NFT space, talk about potential collaborations and partnerships, and gain insights into the latest trends and technologies. It will be a good place to pitch Polkadot to investors and strategic partners and secure better future growth. Or play headhunters and get some good people into the ecosystem. :sunglasses:

I would like to support this proposal, and – if it takes place as planned – will attend in person. In my opinion Slush is relevant for Polkadot in multiple ways.

  • Projects: Web2 and other tech startups who we can inspire to built on Polkadot
  • VCs: Investors who can allocate to Polkadot-based projects
  • LPs: Capital allocators who are able to allocate to a Polkadot Ecosystem Fund.

Having a strong and diverse team present there will be crucial to cover all three aspects.

Solid proposal with an MVP approach to hitchhiking such events. If this works, it can be a model we can apply to other events.

I’d also like to see some of our networkers on stage. Or should this be a grassroots approach only?

At Distractive, we are working on a “VC sentiment” campaign, in which we want to positively influence how VCs view Polkadot. If you also include enough marketing (ads on X, with Slush, venue decoration, etc.), this could increase the event’s success potential.

Lastly, such founder & VC events should create a private space. Will there be a separate room at the café and can the media team allow sufficient privacy?

Three years ago, I attended Slush myself. It was a fantastic experience. I had never seen so many startups and investors (!!) gathered together before. There was a massive crowd at this event, all organized by students. Wonderful! I fully support the idea of attending a web2 conference to generate enthusiasm among attendees. In fact, our PolkaBiz 2.0 proposal will include a section on this as well. During Decoded, I have met Patricia and Tomi, and discussed this proposal with Tomi. I can only give a resounding YES to this proposal. Let’s bring in those leads and investors into the Polkadot ecosystem! Good luck - Mario

First of all, KUDOS to Patricia, Kaidlyne, and Tomi for identifying this opportunity and bringing this proposal together!

The proposal is a strong market fit for Polkadot

As someone deeply embedded in Polkadot, I’ve seen firsthand the incredible potential and growth we can achieve with the right strategies and engagements. Slush 2024 is one of the golden opportunities we cannot afford to miss.

Slush isn’t just any tech event—it’s THE tech event in Europe. Over 13,000 participants, including 5,500 startup founders, 3,300 investors, and many tech enthusiasts, corporate execs, and policymakers. These aren’t just any attendees; they’re the movers and shakers. They’re innovative, forward-thinking, and most importantly, Web3 curious - the exact people we want to introduce to Polkadot.

Being at Slush puts Polkadot in the spotlight in a big way.

Our presence there will significantly boost our visibility and credibility. We’ll be rubbing shoulders with top-tier investors and tech innovators who are always on the watch for the next big thing. And we have a huge opportunity to show them that Polkadot is the next big thing in blockchain. Slush 2024 attendees include corporate executives, policymakers, and tech enthusiasts who can influence the adoption and integration of Polkadot in various sectors.

Slush is known for its emphasis on cutting-edge technologies, making it a fertile ground for discussions about blockchain and Web3 innovations. This environment is conducive to highlighting Polkadot’s advanced features and capabilities. Being visible at such a prestigious event boosts Polkadot’s credibility and positions it as a serious player in the tech ecosystem. This visibility is crucial for gaining trust and interest from new audiences.

Most Desirable Target Audience Profile for Polkadot:

  1. Tech Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders:
  • Innovative Thinkers: Individuals who are pioneering new solutions and looking to leverage cutting-edge technologies. They are often open to exploring blockchain for its potential to disrupt and improve existing systems.
  • Scalable Projects: Founders who are building scalable projects that could benefit from Polkadot’s interoperability and governance features. These projects can span various industries, including finance, supply chain, healthcare, and more.
  1. Venture Capitalists and Institutional Investors:
  • Forward-Looking Investors: Investors who are actively seeking opportunities in the blockchain space and are interested in the long-term potential of Web3 technologies. They are willing to fund innovative projects that utilize Polkadot’s unique features.
  • Strategic Partners: Investors who can provide not just capital but also strategic guidance, connections, and resources to help Polkadot projects succeed.
  1. Developers and Technologists:
  • Blockchain Developers: Skilled developers who can contribute to the Polkadot ecosystem by building parachains, dApps, and other solutions. They are crucial for the growth and evolution of the platform.
  • Innovators and Researchers: Technologists who are exploring new applications of blockchain technology and can help push the boundaries of what is possible with Polkadot.
  1. Corporate Executives and Policymakers:
  • Decision-Makers: Executives from large enterprises who are considering blockchain solutions for their businesses. Their adoption of Polkadot can lead to significant enterprise-level use cases.
  • Regulators and Policymakers: Individuals who can influence the regulatory landscape and promote favorable conditions for blockchain adoption. Their support can be instrumental in the broader acceptance and integration of Polkadot.

Slush gives an unprecedented opportunity to connect and network with all the above-mentioned. If we can send there proactive, Polkadot-wise networkers and get as many Polkadot masterminds as speakers (I already know we have some prominent Polkadot names confirmed as speakers) we can bring much more ROI and attention to Polkadot than with all the marketing spends we already made and with the target audience fit.

Key Reasons for Marketing at Slush

Exposure to a Broad and Relevant Audience:

  • Diverse Attendee Base: Slush attracts a wide range of attendees including startup founders, investors, corporate executives, and tech enthusiasts. This diversity aligns well with Polkadot’s goal of reaching beyond the blockchain community to engage a broader tech-savvy audience.
  • High-Quality Leads: The event’s focus on innovative technologies ensures that the attendees are forward-thinking and open to exploring new solutions, making them ideal targets for Polkadot’s marketing efforts.

Strategic Positioning:

  • Visibility at a Premier Event: Slush is a prestigious event in the tech startup world. Polkadot’s presence there would significantly boost its visibility and credibility, positioning it as a leading Web3 platform among tech innovators and investors.
  • Leveraging Slush Tools: Utilizing the Slush matchmaking platform and other networking tools will help Polkadot strategically connect with high-potential leads, ensuring that marketing efforts are efficient and targeted.

Showcasing Polkadot’s Strengths:

  • Highlighting Success Stories: The event provides a platform to showcase Polkadot’s successful projects and technological capabilities, effectively communicating its value proposition to a new audience. We should be putting all our collective wisdom and efforts into placing as many Polkadot masterminds like Gavin, Robert, and Shawn, the regulatory and compliance ecosystem agents like Angie Dalton, Chrissy Hill, and Ashley Klayman as speakers, and as many networkers and BD agents as possible. We should showcase Polkadot’s success stories with OpenGov and the most successful parachains and dapps.

Slush gives us the perfect platform to highlight what makes Polkadot unique. We can showcase success stories, demonstrate our advanced technology, and explain how we’re paving the way for the future of Web3. Bringing our A-team of networkers, we ensure the message is delivered powerfully and effectively.

The proposal isn’t just about showing up—it’s about showing up strategically.

With networking plans, pre-booked meetings, and a dedicated investor event we’re not just hoping to bump into the right people; we’ll be meeting them. Setting up meaningful interactions can lead to real, tangible opportunities for Polkadot. At the end of the day, our goal is growth. We want more developers building on Polkadot, more startups choosing our platform, and more investors funding Polkadot projects.

Slush 2024 is a unique opportunity to accelerate the Polkadot’s growth by connecting with exactly the kind of people who can make it happen.

1 Like

Hi @DotDotApe we just had a meeting with your colleagues. We are very thankful for your support.

This definitely is an experiment that we wish to package for other teams to use after us in other events - and again in Slush 2025, with even bigger impact.

We will add some more digital marketing budget, definitely.

Unfortunately (or I would say fortunately) we cannot have an influence on the speaker selection. That’s the best part of Slush. It’s non-corruptible. However, stay tuned for some good news. :wink:

The media team (press) has their own area but you need to have the press pass for that. For the networkers, we are now contemplating whether we should take the €40K partner pod or not. Costs will go up but it might be worth it. Let’s just hope Slush has some still left. We only know in August.

Best regards,

Tomi

The Events Bounty curators would like to inform the community that this proposal, in its original form, has been rejected by the Events Bounty(Please find a PDF of our response email here. Unfortunately it is too long to fit into a single screenshot). We thank the proponents for taking into consideration the comments of the curators and altering the new version of the proposal. One key difference is that the new proposal does not contain specific success metrics and KPIs. We have initially referred to these numbers and have included them below, as they were the main reasoning for our rejection:

Summary: the success metrics did not meet the EB standards for the proposed fee. For these amounts we would like to see a booth at the main conference, outlined participating teams, how they match the existing demographic, higher end production for a 25,200 EUR management fee, less individuals attending the conference to collect “100 quality leads” and an idea of the conversion rates the proponents wants to achieve (eg. investors and startups; how many of the 100 leads you want to convert to Polkadot). The Events Bounty is generally supportive of such BD initiatives, where Polkadot Ecosystem Agents are sent to conferences to give us a presence and make new connections - however, we felt that the scale of this operation, and the fact that ~57% of the costs (61,000 EUR) are in organisational costs and not for the activities themselves, were too excessive to be covered by the Events Bounty. Full feedback provided to the proponents are detailed below:

  • We don’t see the value in being positioned on a panel at an event with only 1300 guests for the provided price tag @ Match XR (please note that this refers to the overall ask of the proposal, not that of the panel itself, as the operational fees to prepare for a panel are extremely high).

  • Amount of content creation (16 hours of video per day) seems unnecessary for the purpose of a proposal where individuals are only sent to conduct business development/ networking and there are no workshops nor a booth. We don’t see a benefit for the Polkadot community in a 10-20 minute video of (primarily non-technical) individuals networking and speaking at a conference.

  • The request of 25,200 EUR management fee is an unjustified expense, as such cost is usually associated with higher demanding production, rather than an event where the majority of the production is not handled by the proponent. Additionally, these tasks were not initially described in detail in the initial proposal.

  • The initial proposal described OpenGov as a “pre-seed fund”, but this is not its purpose. So far it has mainly funded the development of public goods such as wallets, necessary applications (Zondax), block explorers and infrastructure maintenance.

  • The bounty does not fund “team building” activities of the proponents.

  • There is no need for the treasury to fund 100 EUR per head merchandise for the proponent’s team. Usually applicants give away merchandise to those they network with.

  • A 13,200 EUR marketing lead expense is not justifiable for business development/networking at a conference

  • An additional expense of 525 EUR per day to coordinate matters locally does not seem necessary, especially since there is a high management fee already included(the initial proposal listed 2x co-ordinators).

  • The proposal references 3 referendums for comparison of similar funding initiatives, however, all of these have included a booth at a large conference.

Some of the previously added team members have not confirmed their participation in this proposal, yet have been added to it.

Comments related to initial proposal success metrics (these have been amended in the new proposal):

  • “ securing 10-12 Polkadot networkers engaging with networks and founders” is a task for the proponent and not a metric in the view of the curators.

  • The curators are of the opinion that 100 relevant leads are a valuable metric, however, we disagree that a team of 10-12 is required to obtain these.

  • “40 investors present at the brunch” what kind? Some of the investors on the list were already familiar with Polkadot.

  • We don’t see a feature on a panel as a relevant success metric.

Thank you for adding this here, for transparency’s sake.

A bit of background: We were encouraged to submit our draft proposal ASAP (the day the new EB went live). We submitted two days later and we were hoping to get the feedback in a Telegram group, as mentioned in the new EB process, but I apparently misunderstood that. We thought we can then work on this together, that the whole point of the bounty was to help make better proposals. The proposal was by no means ready, when we submitted. It still isn’t. Therefore, it is great we can now have this back-and-forth here. We are happy to improve the proposal further, in open dialogue, together with the community. To ease that dialogue, I will address those points in the initial feedback that are still relevant. After that, let’s move ahead, together.

  • Match XR ask is 4,000 € for the organizers + ca 1,000 € for drinks to be given out for the participants in the lounge area.
  • “Operational fees” have now been downscaled considerably, based on the feedback. These were not only for the panel preparation, however, but for all investor/founder program, details of which are still being ironed out and to be confirmed with the Slush team, as they return from their vacation in August.
  • 16 hours of videography/photography is for the entire duration and can extend over the four days that we are there. This professional videographer will then use another 28 hours to go through the captured material and to edit it into a) a set of 50-100 of the best images, b) a 3-minute feel-good reel for Polkadot marketing purposes, and c) a 10-20 minute compilation of SLUSH for the Polkadot community. This is with a reduced rate of 70€ per hour and totals 3,080 €. If this is excessive, then I have nothing to add. Their normal rate is 122 € / hour. If the above deliverables are not satisfactory, then let’s ask the videographer to produce something else that will be more useful. They want us to give them that kind of guidance, and we are prepared to do so. All community ideas are welcome.
  • The Networkers are not paid for their work, so the “team building” was added as a way to thank them, and to guarantee that the follow-up to turn the leads into real opportunities is seamless. We don’t want to lose the leads we have collected, do we?
  • 100 EUR per head was budgeted to create Polkadot hoodies, shirts and bags for the team, so that they look uniform, approachable and can be spotted easily at the venue. The critique on this was most likely a misunderstanding and we have kept this line item in the budget.
  • We reduced the marketing expenses based on the feedback, although we have now received a strong expert recommendation to spend more in digital marketing so that there would be some awareness among the target audiences when the Networkers start approaching them. We are also getting full support from Distractive to make this a success.
  • We wanted to try a no-booth approach to “go guerrilla on them”, but since most everyone wants a booth, we’ll see if we can still get a booth or a “Partner Pod” (a space at the main venue where we can host people, demo the tech and talk with them more intimately). It will be an additional cost of about 60,000 € (40K for Slush + production + management) but we’ll see if we can get a good deal.
  • Everyone had confirmed their participation. If this feedback is regarding @ingo.ruebe then it’s a misunderstanding. One of our Networkers @Gabo asked to add him, so we did. Having said that, Ingo continues to be supportive of this initiative, although he is no longer mentioned as one of the team members.
  • We agree that 100 high potential, qualified leads is a relevant goal. Those come from a pool of 13,000 Slush participants. I hope 12 Networkers is enough to obtain these, given that most of them don’t even know what Web3 is (yet those 100 could definitely benefit from building on it or investing in it). We are not there to collect business cards. We are there to bring in new tangible opportunities and real, impactful change into the Polkadot ecosystem.
  • Coordinating things locally takes a lot of effort. I have done this since January, mostly alone. We have now put a price tag on the preparation work already done (retroactive funding for @Patricia and I) so that it is clearly separated from work that still needs to be done, both before and during the event.
  • If the community thinks that venue bookings, partnership negotiations and other local preparation are not needed, then let’s try to do this without it. And if we think that these are needed, but it should be fully voluntary work, let’s look for someone willing to do this work free of charge. I’m more than happy to step aside, as long as this gets done.

In summary: This is not a proposal to create an event. It’s a proposal for direct marketing, business development and investor relations activities that happen during an event. Our intention is to create a replicable concept, tools and materials that can be used in other events after this, and again in Slush 2025. We are grateful for the valuable feedback received. We commend the Events Bounty curators for their proactive approach in sharing these insights directly. In response, we affirm our commitment to crafting a revised proposal that comprehensively incorporates the feedback from both the community and the Events Bounty team.

Hi. As I’m mentioned here personally I feel I should also say something: I mentioned (in chats) to more than one project team members (before the proposal was submitted to EB) that it is unlikely I would be able to attend as PoKe, because the event focusses on entrepreneurs and VC, while PoKe focusses on enterprise and government. That’s not a match.
I am generally supportive of initiatives like that, but I also take the concerns of the EB team very serious. They can judge much better about pricing, expectation, effectiveness etc. of event related things. That is because they have more experience and can compare with other initiatives. So I cannot tell if the proposal is adequate or not. But there are two lines I actually can and would like to comment on: (both in the spreadsheet cost calculation)

  1. I do not remember any other proposal billing corporate tax (30%) to the treasury. Corporate tax is paid on the profit of a company. That would mean that you do not plan to compensate the staff for their work and leave the treasury money inside a company which then has to pay tax for the profits. This is not understandable and I doubt the community wants to pay for that.
  2. You add a 10% slippage fee to the overall project cost and bill it to the treasury. Why don’t you just apply for USDT funding and scrap this fee? It will lower the cost by 10%.
    Cheers,
    ingo

I would like to say that I think overall this goes in the right direction! Rather than trying to get cool tech projects come to Polkadot, we should go out to where these projects are. And Slush is indeed a great gathering place for projects that could leverage Polkadot’s technology. I personally like the idea because Slush brings together tech startups, VC, and – importantly – LPs that may well be interested participating in a Polkadot Ecosystem Fund.

Thanks @ingo.ruebe going for USDT makes sense. DOT + slippage were remnants from before. @Patricia will remove the corporate tax bit as well.