Get XcitEd About EdTech in Helsinki This December
By Cait Etherington
November 22, 2018
December’s largest edtech event used to be New York City’s EdTech Week hosted by StartEd. With New York’s EdTech Week now scheduled for June, there is a new destination for edtech founders, researchers, and investors in December. While it may be dark most of the day and extremely cold, the hottest place to be in December is now Helsinki, Finland where the annual edtech event, XcitED, is scheduled to take place. This year’s event take place on December 4.
XcitED’s 2018 Program
Three key themes will dominate XcitED’s 2018 event: ‘AI and Big Data;’ ‘Learning and the 21st Century;’ and ‘Public Versus Private Education.’ Among other highlights is a panel discussion on machine learning featuring Harri Ketamo, Founder of HeadAI; Martin Siltberg, Director Business Development at Sana Labs; and Maria Ritola, Co-founder of Iris AI, a company that is quickly changing how keyword searches are carried out by combining human knowledge and AI in a powerful new form of search. As part of the conference’s focus on Learning in the 21st Century, another woman leader in edtech, Kati Tiainen, the digital learning and strategy director at Microsoft, will give a keynote on building the school of the future.
Like other large edtech events, XcitEd aims to attract investors alongside founders and researchers. Some voices from the investment sector will also be on the XcitED 2018 program, include representatives from Learn Capital, Brighteye Ventures, Mountain Nazca, Pivot5, and GSV. These investors will hopefully also all be watching when xEdu’s Sixth Accelerator School participants make their final pitches at the close of the conference. While some pitches will be by Finnish companies, there will also be final pitches made by Maltese, Egyptian, and American edtech startups who are currently participating xEdu’s Accelerator.
While XcitED is already a great reason to head to Helsinki this December, for anyone who needs additional incentive, XcitEd is also an official side event of Slush, one of the world’s leading startup events. Slush runs in Helsinki from December 4 to 5. If you haven’t been to Slush in the past, the event, once a small local gathering, has now grown to a network of large-scale events that attract over 40,000 attendees annually around the world. Still, in the Slush network, the Helsinki event continues to dominate, attracting on average 20,000 attendees, 2,600 startups, 1,600 investors, and 600 journalists.
Finland’s Expanding EdTech Scene
Finland may be a relatively small nation but when it comes to edtech, it continues to rise to the top. Finland is not only home to Europe’s largest edtech accelerator but also home to dozens of fast-growing edtech startups. According to xEdu Program Director, Niko Lindholm, there are currently over 80 edtech startups and around 150 established edtech-related companies in Finland. Lindholm also estimates that since 2015, between 10–12 million euros of venture capital money has been invested in Finnish edtech companies.
As reported in September 2018, xEdu was also recently chosen by the United Nations’ to host a United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL).The partnership is designed to support the development and implementation of new learning solutions around the world.
If you’re already planning to attend Slush, you’ll automatically have entrance to xEdu’s XcitED event in early December. If not, access to XcitEd, its startup demo-area, and an EdTech after-party is only €150. Details about passes are available on the XcitEd website.