Nowhere to hide in Turku

We interviewed Janne Saarikko, AKA Startup Janne, and Ville Hulkko, co-founder of Silo.AI, about Turku, SHIFT and everything.

Turku may not be the biggest city in Finland, but that might just be its greatest strength. The same goes for SHIFT: the compact two-day program packs a lot of information and features top-notch speakers; the venue is home to a wide assortment of experiences and cozy enough to make sure nothing slips past you. Every year, Turku draws international visitors for a specific reason, SHIFT Business Festival.


Janne: “The hit rate on your topic of interest is very big, that’s why I love it. SHIFT has managed to grab the attention of globally important names. For example, Geoffrey West, he is probably one the most influential people in the discussion about the future of societies, at the moment in the whole world, and I had the opportunity to talk to him.”

Ville: “I have met people in SHIFT who I do business with very closely today. So even though the location may seem remote, the festival still draws impressive attendees, globally high-level.”


Besides doing business together, SHIFT is about doing intelligent business together. For Janne, one of the key reasons for intelligent business, or for intelligence in doing business, is that we find ourselves in a situation where our planet and all of humanity are suffering. Everyone should strive to save the world, and making money shouldn’t be anyone’s only concern.


Janne: “Where I work, we believe that entrepreneurship can help save the planet, you just need to decide that you want to do that. So stop wasting your time building nonsense startups, build something that has impact, something that’s meaningful! That’s why you need to be smart and need intelligence in your business – saving the world doesn’t mean that you can’t make money as well.”


For Ville and Silo.AI, intelligent business means making data-driven decisions. Silo.AI helps other companies and organizations with considerable data assets to use that data in their core processes, in the best way possible.


Sharing and processing more and more data is a growing trend. What we call intelligent business can be considered to start in earnest when we see companies within a big field, such as the maritime industry, beginning to share and process the vast amounts of data they have, to create value from it, together. This is already happening and believed to kick into full gear starting 2020.


Intelligent business is key in startups as well. Janne encourages startups to attend SHIFT, because it’s the easiest way to make meaningful connections. SHIFT is not for everyone in business, SHIFT is for individuals and organizations in certain fields of business. As such, the connections made are more relevant, potential investors and collaborators more likely aligned with every other attendee’s interests. SHIFT also has a proven track record in bringing together future partners. So, if a startup is looking to meet collaborators, SHIFT is the place to do it.


Why is all that?


Janne: “For example, the speakers, in many other events you can see the speakers on the stage, but you don’t have the opportunity to actually meet them and talk to them face to face. In Turku, there’s nowhere to hide! Everyone will go to the same parties, everyone will be hanging out in the city center, or sharing a kebab at 4am. The distance between people gets smaller.”