StartupBus community is about to get much larger

Last February my friend Julie brought to my attention this article on TechCrunch about this 48-hour hackathon on a bus, known as StartupBus. Of course I signed up, as the idea passed my personal threshold of “crazy enough to fly across the country”. Within just a couple of weeks from signing up for the StartupBus 2010 I flew to San Francisco and joined a bunch of cool people. They came from across the United States, including NYC, Cleveland, Florida and… of course Chicago. What’s more – people hailed from across continents, some from UK, others from Australia. They marched with all kinds of skills: hackers, designers, community managers and non-techies like me who like startups and can do numbers and marketing. The experience was surreal and here’s a really good story plot of what happened (thanks to Justin Wilden who also participated last year). 

Crunching numbers on a bus at 60mph in the Texas dessert

(Crunching numbers on a bus at 60mph in the Texas dessert)

Aside from having a really good time on the bus and at the SXSW conference we witnessed a network of entrepreneurs emerge. Some of them went on to found startups, like Whereoscope and Opzi, others quit their jobs and joined various startups. All of us are involved in a number of different cool projects and the value of the network only keeps expanding over time. I moved from Chicago to the Silicon Valley party because I was now in a group of like-minded individuals who were willing to help each other. 

That was with 25 people last year. This year we’re doing it again but this time it’s going to be 150 people! I cannot tell you what ideas will be born at 60mph on a bus, but I can guarantee you that an amazing network of buspreneurs will emerge. 

I am also stoked about the rivalry that will light up among the US tech regions this time around. Five buses (SF, NYC, Miami, Chicago and Cleveland) will compete to produce the best ideas and implement the best prototypes in time for SxSW, where a panel of VCs and a team from a local incubator, Capital Factory, will judge to determine the best businesses. I will not be surprised if some teams will come home with real investments to take their 48-hour-bus-born-babies to market. 

You think you’ve got what it takes? Apply: StartupBus 2011

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