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Finalist Beander Sits Down for Coffee

Beander StartupBus finalists

Finalists for North America 2014, Beander spoke with the 1Million Cups Blog about how they started and where they are now. Beander is the online marketplace for green, specialty coffee.

Despite the end of the North American competition a month ago, Beander is alive and well, Tatiana Becker the CEO of Beander reports:

All 6 of us are continuing with Beander, and are bringing on more importers and developing the site in preparation for the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference next month. We will be debuting Beander to scores of roasters at that event.

Read more about Beander on the 1Million Cups Blog

 

Being Brave, Launching Branch: Cemre Güngör

CEMRE GÜNGÖR Branch StartupBus

Recently we interviewed Cemre Güngör of Branch fresh off participating in StartupBus North America 2014 as a finals judge. Following this interview, his company Branch was acquired by Facebook.

CEMRE GÜNGÖR StartupBus

Tell us about Branch. How was it founded? What do you do? How big is it?

We make web and mobile products for public conversations. Our team currently has 10 people, of which 4 are engineers and 2 designers. We got started when me, Josh Miller and Hursh Agrawal met in summer 2011, building an online panel discussion tool called Roundtable. Shortly after we met with folks from Obvious corporation and raised funding of $2M.

What were three things that you gained from StartupBus that helped to form what became Branch?

Firstly, StartupBus made me more brave. I had a tendency to self-disqualify myself from opportunities because I didn’t have enough experience and feel ready. StartupBus made me more comfortable with learning on the go, which is what we’ve done with Branch all this time. Secondly, I realized how much work I can get done if I work as hard as I can and not sleep :) I had never tested the limits of my ability before, and I think the crazy work schedule of StartupBus became a decent precursor to crazy crunch times we sometimes have for Branch. Lastly, I really learned that in the startup world, people are judged by their creative output and not their labels. A bunch of us on the bus didn’t have a lot of experience or fancy titles, and through what we made on the bus, doors opened to a lot of us. (For example, based on what I made at the bus, I secured an internship at Etsy, where I worked until we started Branch). I wasn’t very familiar with the startup scene before and I was very happy to find out opportunities exist for people that put the work in.

What did you think about StartupBus before you went on it? What did you think after?

I thought it was a crazy group of people and that I’d fit in, which definitely was the case. However I never anticipated how life-changing it would be for me. The opportunities I got following StartupBus definitely paved way for my current career.

Did you think you’d be doing what you’re doing now before you started the bus?

Probably not, I think I’d shy away from this opportunity thinking I couldn’t do it and just get a regular job.

What are some things about Branch that you’d say are direct results of the StartupBus?

I think the bus had a really eccentric group of people, so even though from the outside you could label us as “tech people”, everyone had something about them that made them very interesting outside the work context. When we started Branch, we wanted to see this sort of culture in our company as well, ie. people who are interesting. It definitely influenced who we hired and helped us get the amazing team we have now.

What would you say to people who haven’t done the bus before but are on the fence?

There is no other life-changing opportunity that’s as fun and will create as many interesting experiences and memories for you. Especially if you feel like you have unrealized potential, StartupBus is a great way for you to explore that and level up in life.

I WANNA BE ON THE STARTUPBUS

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StartupBus founder Elias Bizannes was flown into Baton Rouge on February 9 2012 as a special guest speaker to a room of Lousiana’s innovators. After a bunch of questions, Elias was asked when was Louisiana going to get its own StartupBus representation? The organisers of the event then played this video.

Walking outside in the city centre right near the government buildings, the song was being played on repeat with speakers spanning hundreds of feet blasting this parody of Billionaire. (Video of how it looked in downtown Baton Rouge.)

ANNOUNCING STARTUPBUS AMERICA 2012 APPLICATIONS

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Last month, TechCrunch broke the news that we are expanding in 2012. We can confirm we’re full steam ahead and pending sponsor commitments that have been verbalised as coming true, we will be having 300 people in this competition in what is our annual intake program to bring people into our community (double what we did in March 2011).

Where will the buses be departing? Today we are announcing that both Silicon Valley and New York City will be having a representation, due to their winning performance in last years finals. The unlock campaign which has helped us get insight (not decide) has yieled some surprising results. It has influenced us, but the final decision will not be based on those votes and we will announce our decisions progressively over the comming weeks. If you want to understand how to get a tribe represented, local sponsorship contributions to the competition and quality of applicants from a particular place will be what impacts this. We will be announcing where the remaining buses will depart from in coming weeks, who will be led by “conductors” driving the campaign (more on that another time).

Which leads us to the reason we are posting today: we are officially announcing that applications for our competition in March are now open.

Now what?

1) Authenticate on StartupBus.com.  Connect your Facebook accounts to the site or create a new account with your email. This will authenticate you into the system where you can find out more. What this does is log you in our database as interested — it doesn’t mean you have access to the application page.

2) Get invited. If you’re noticed as someone with potential, one of the organisers might send one. A better bet is to look on social media for people offering to invite other people (people that have been invited also have two invites to give to people they believe in).

3) Apply. Once invited, the application webpage will show you options on how to apply. Go ahead and be creative — since that TechCrunch post, we’ve had over 800 people ask to be on the waiting list, so we’re expecting more than we can handle.

4) Confirm your attendance. If accepted, congratulations! We’ve got a team of people that will be reviewing and re-reviewing every single application in the next month. We heavily invest in this process because for us the competition is just the start of a long term relationship with you and the rest of the alumni whom are all very unique people in the technology industry. Details about this step will be sent out to those accepted in February.

DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO RIDE STARTUPBUS?

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Congratulations! You’ve come to the right place.This is the first step but not the last: your decision to participate in the most grueling hackathon-esque competition on the planet.

Each year we receive far more applicants than we could possibly accept. Additionally, we look for a certain type of person as we’re not about just producing an event with wicked people as an end goal (though we’ve got to admit, that’s something we do well). Accordingly, you will have to prove that you’re among the best of the best in order to receive a boarding pass.

So what are we looking for?
StartupBus exists to create a community of the best hackers, hipsters, and hustlers. A community that is a life-long asset you can tap into, with our annual competition acting as our intake into this community. The competition itself forges these “buspreneurs” together through shared experience and is a vehicle (*ahem*) that fosters talent that have the capacity to change the status quo.

StartupBus is intense. StartupBus is challenging. StartupBus is an experience unto itself. If you are one of those driven, maniacal world-changers, you’re probably what we’re looking for. If you’re the type that think movie-marathons are a worthy way to spend a weekend,here’s the door.

Hustlers: No means yes and yes means MORE.

Your business acumen is second to none, you pitch in your sleep and can sell bottled air. Silver-tongued fox that you are you drive too fast just for the opportunity to talk your way out of a speeding fine. You have been known to organise the takeover of small nation states. You created the bubble.

Innately undefinable, hustlers must prove they have the Midas touch. Be creative.

Hackers: You took the red pill. StartupBus is an environment of constraints, the least of which is time, pressure and lacklustre wifi. Your Github profile, side projects, websites will all help you to prove you are legion. As will a list of your preferred coding languages and proficiency level. They won’t be enough to clinch it though. Demonstrate you’re more than a coder: you’re a versatile hacker, you’re bad-arse and you do what it takes to get the job done.

Hipsters: Form and function. Beauty. Purpose. Poise. Need we say more?

Shoot us a link to your portfolio. (If you’re a front-end coder, say so. n.b. This is not a requirement)

To surmise, Prove that you’re awesome. Good luck!

COMING TO A (EUROPEAN) FREEWAY NEAR YOU (SOON)

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Arne Huckstein who’s been the driving force of our logistics in Europe has posted about the upcoming trip of the inaugural StartupBus European competition.

Yes, we are getting ready to leave. On Sunday morning, StartupBus Europe will hit the road and we will not stop until we have launched some great startups. And you can be part of the experience.

To start off, Startupbootcamp and Atlassian are sponsoring the launch party in Amsterdam on Saturday the 3rd of December. If you are in Amsterdam, register tonight to be part of the first StartupBus Europe party.

On Sunday morning everyone is welcome to wave us goodbye as we board the bus in front of the Hotel Victoria in Amsterdam. (Across from Central station.) No reservations are needed. ;-)

On Sunday night Startupbootcamp will be hosting us in Copenhagen. We will have drinks, a pitch competition and plenty of time to network with fellow entrepreneurs. Register here!

On Monday afternoon Startupbootcamp will be hosting a startup lunch for us in Berlin around 2pm. Details will come shortly and so will the possibility to register. More pitching and more competition.

On Tuesday morning we will be welcomed to Google’s European headquarters in Zurich for breakfast, a tour and more pitching competitions. If you want to be part of this, please register quickly as the number of places is limited. But it will be a great experience.

If you are at LeWeb, StartupBus Europe will be there as well. You can meet us at the conference, but you can also meet us at the bus. We can show you around and you can meet our startups, get demo’s or offer your investment money to your favorite startup.

A big thanks you go to our sponsors who are making this unique experience possible: Twilio and Softlayer whom we’ll be talking about more later. In the next 24 hours, we’ll be unveiling our website which will allow you to track, engage and interact with the teams that are on the journey of a lifetime, so stay tuned.

STARTUPBUS IS COMING TO EUROPE!

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November 1, 2011 — This December, the StartupBus phenomenon is coming to Europe. Starting in Amsterdam and ending at Paris in time for the LeWeb conference, StartupBus Europe will be an entrepreneurial competition like no other.

Part-hackathon, part-road trip, participants will have 3 days to conceive, build and launch a startup while traveling 100km an hour across the continent before pitching to a panel of top industry figures at LeWeb.

Participants will have the opportunity to test their skills against Europe’s best hackers (developers), hustlers (marketeers) and hipsters (designers) while competing for the title of European Champions. In addition to the community that is formed, participants will be exposed to leading tech operations in Europe.

Selection onto the StartupBus is competitive. Hackers, hustlers and hipsters are encouraged to apply via the application page. (You need to be logged in to see the application page with your Facebook account; for people with non-Facebook accounts and other issues please email team @ startupbus.com.)

More information is available at StartupBus.com/Europe Media inquiries should be sent to media @ startupbus.com.

INTEL STARTUPBUS CHALLENGE

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Following on from the 24 hour challenge we ran recently, we’re running another pilot event with the awesome people at Intel. It will be a 36 hour challenge starting in San Francisco and ending in Seattle, where you will also get free tickets to the invite-only conference that Intel runs, called AppUp Elements.

Intel is kindly giving away some amazing prizes ($10,000 cash has be announced so far) and your work on the challenge will get a lot of exposure at the conference. We’re also treating this as one of the few events that we’re running in the lead up to StartupBus 2012, and based on your performance will help you jump the application line for what has become a very competitive process.

Applications close soon so go ahead and apply. If you have any issues in the application process, feel free to email us with team @ startupbus.com

Update: the conference will be from the 28-29th September, and the StartupBus will depart Monday morning on the 26th September to arrive on the eve of the conference on the 27th.

THE 24 HOUR CHALLENGE

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A week ago on Friday 8 July 2011, we had our 2012 launch party with well over 100 people attend, hosted at our new headquarters at StartupHouse – check some of our photos (and many thanks toAtlassian for their support and sponsorship of the party).

At the party, we announced the challenge we had with StartupBus 2011. When we opened up applications in late January, we had over 1200 people flag their interest in us over the next month, with 600 people receiving invitations to apply and that formally submitted an application. We ended up only accepting 25% of those applicants, despite the calibre of talent being way higher than we ever imagined and had us wanting to accept many more people.

So we are going to run an experiment this week in San Francisco: a new kind of StartupBus event. This event will not only be standalone fun to participate in, but it also will help us with our March 2012 main event by filtering people. More importantly though, it will also further our goals of teaching people how to be more effective in the startup world in a new way that hasn’t be done before (but with the same philosophy which we regard as ‘constraints based’ innovation).

We’re calling it the 24 hour challenge. You will be broken into three streams: Hackers (people that can code), designers (people that can create interfaces), and hustlers (people that can market to influence other people). As individuals, you will be told to meet a challenge that starts at 9pm, where you will be given a challenge according to the stream you are in. And then, every three hours an announcement will be made which will influence what you are working on.

By 9pm the following night, the challenge ends and it’s time to party! An awesome panel of judges will be assessing your output and we have some amazing companies supporting us, such as Socialize who are the same company behind the the very successful Appmakr and who this week will be announcing some of their own news which will change the industry.

So to recap, this is a 24 challenge that you participate in asindividuals, broken into three streams known as hackersdesigners, and hustlers. There will be prizes based on what you produce and yourperformance will be used as a new way for us to filter the thousands of people applying to be on StartupBus 2012 (when we – gulp – open the applications again).

Our March event which is what we have been known for during these last two years, has been a unique experience that has changed multiple people’s lives. With this 24 hour challenge — although it’s ultimately tied to our March event — we hope will also create a unique experience that makes you more effective hackers, designers and hustlers in the startup world.

Given we are piloting the concept, we’re only going to have a limited group doing this challenge. Make sure you get your ticket before we sell out and we look forward to what I think will be a very memorable experience.  Get your ticket here: http://startupbus.com/hackathons/1/san-francisco-24-hour-challenge

– Elias Bizannes, StartupBus Founder.

Socialize will be offering $2000 in cash to the winners. And don’t worry, it’s for a cool reason. Thanks Socialize!

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