Microsoft x Slush

Creating an inviting and accessible space for exploring opportunities in the world of startups.


Experience Design, Spatial Design, Game Design, Illustration, UI Design





Microsoft for Startups is a comprehensive global program designed to support startups as they build and scale their companies. The ultimate goal? To help startups dream bigger…and realise those dreams.

Each year, the program makes a grand spatial statement at one of the world’s most important tech and startup events — Slush! In 2019 we injected a sense of drama and excitement into the sleek, yet multifaceted experience to emphasize the true value of the Microsoft for Startups program.

We took a highly functional approach to designing the user experience. Instead of solely striving for an aesthetically pleasing meeting spot, our aim was to bring something of real value to the visitor and their quest for success.

With our concept and experience design, we wanted to highlight the self-reflection and keen observation that is essential for a startup to reach its full potential: a mentality at the very heart of Microsoft for Startups.

Visually, we accentuated the overall concept with a captivating use of mirrored surfaces. Symbolically, this represented the search for new perspectives; practically, the endless reflections created a free-flowing space filled with fascinating and engaging details.

Being a personal experience, the space needed to celebrate the Microsoft for Startups community. We focused on accessibility for all; so, we created an area that was intimate, but not exclusive.

The second floor was devoted to the fully-booked round table mentoring session; elevating ‘human relations’ to the pinnacle of the stand.

The concept of exploring opportunities is embedded throughout the experience; in Mentoring Sessions and Lightning Talks, and was ultimately embodied by the Startup Adventurer game showcased at the booth.

We visualised Startup Adventurer as a way to remove the barriers between small startups and the corporate giant. The game provided an approachable and entertaining way to get tailored information on the Microsoft for Startups offering.

Inspired by classic, 16-bit game graphics, we let our imagination run free, illustrating a range of attributes and objects that represented various kinds of industries. Using these assets, the player could compile an avatar in a the game configurator.

When they completed the process, users were able to download their unique avatar, which they could then use however they liked – they could share it on social media; use it as a profile picture; or just keep it as a souvenir from Slush.

The Slush presence was a hit; constantly bustling with an electric atmosphere and a fully engaged audience.

Without any gimmicks or giveaways, everyone was drawn solely by the true value of invaluable information and human interaction — which you could say was the greatest feedback for Microsoft, and of course, for us.

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