With our bags packed for Helsinki, we got to talking: Slush is a more unique event than most people give credit.

Most of the conversations we’ve overheard about Slush revolve around the size of the event. 14,000+ people in a room to talking about startups in the Nordics is remarkable and would be unheard of even five years ago. But while most large startup events in Europe do their legwork in Silicon Valley to invite in brand name speakers and investors, Slush is unique by looking inward and east to pull in local superstars and names from Asian powerhouses like Alibaba and Gung-Ho. Not many other massive startup events in Europe or the rest of the world have the focus or ability to look outside Silicon Valley to sell tickets.

Who’s up on stage isn’t the most important factor at any event, but as the Nordic’s largest startup gathering it sets the tone of who we are and where we’re going. And it hasn’t slowed down any attention from the states – our Silicon Valley team will see plenty of our U.S. colleagues and startups at the event.

What’s left unsaid is how Slush is able to avoid the pull of Silicon Valley while still growing its U.S. and international presence.

The fact is that our region punches well above its weight, and the world’s investors and startups can’t avoid the Nordics any longer. It’s something we at Creandum have believed in since we were founded 12 years ago, and it’s something our research is showing today: the Nordic countries have accounted for almost 10% of the world’s billion dollar exits over the last 10 years.

Until recently, the Nordics have been pretty bad at marketing itself as a whole. Slush has really managed to build a global brand that represent the Nordic startup ecosystem, and helps showcase the amazing talent and companies in the region.

We all intuitively know that something special is happening up here, but by the numbers alone we should set our Nordic humbleness aside, and like Slush, learn to promote ourselves better.

At Creandum we’re proud to be working with the region’s best founders to build great companies like Spotify, Tictail, and iZettle to name a few, and we look forward to showing our international colleagues the next generation of Nordic powerhouses. We’re not building another Silicon Valley, we’re building something special up here. And if you find yourselves taking to foreign press or investors this Slush just remember: don’t be humble