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StartupBus goes


Back when Keit Kollo and I became Directors of StartupBus Europe 2016 last year, right after Pirate Summit 2015, we had to choose a destination for our favorite competition called StartupBus. All year round there are awesome tech conferences to go to in Europe, but only a few of them fit with our StartupBus view on tech startups.

After a few weeks we nailed down a shortlist:

We visited Pioneers in 2013 and 2014 but in the last two years they seemed to have outgrown us. Nevertheless, Pioneers is an awesome forward-looking festival.

Neither Keit nor I had visited Tech Open Air (TOA) but from the looks of it it seemed like an awesome interdisciplinary tech conference. They bring together people from the worlds of technology and arts, which aligns well with our vision of bringing tech & entrepreneurial talent together to disrupt the status quo. Only caveat: it’s in the middle of summer holidays!

Tech Open Air (TOA) Berlin 2015

Our 2015 competition ended at Pirate Summit in Cologne. We just loved the atmosphere at the festival: great talks, awesome attendees and let’s not forget the great food and drinks (and the impromptu party we threw after burning the man). One of our American friends said Pirate Summit is like a cross-over between SXSWi and Burning Man!

We were also considering Bits & Pretzels, a festival focused on founders which flows into the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich (pun not intended). However, we would have had lots of logistical problems (mostly regarding providing accommodation for our participants).

So, that’s why we’ve chosen to visit Pirate Summit once again with our StartupBus. But, a few of our organizing crew will visit Tech Open Air this week in Berlin anyway!  We’re also participating actively in a few of the satellite events!

Satellite events affiliated with StartupBus crew:

A selection of TOA talks we’ll definitely be attending:

  • (Day 1) Are we cyborgs yet – future of fashion tech
  • (Day 1) Bots: fun, mischief and whimsy
  • (Day 1) Scaling Innovation Velocity inside Kayak
  • (Day 1) A Design Sprint
  • (Day 1) Fireside chat with Albert Wenger (moderated by Robin Wauters of!)
  • (Day 1) Don’t Arrest Me with Susan Danziger
  • (Day 1) Modern Design & Classic Aesthetics
  • (Day 2) Working with Data: design?
  • (Day 2) Adaptive music – a new era in music with Lars Rasmussen (co-founder of Weav, founder of Google Maps!)
  • (Day 2) Why The Next Big Thing In Tech Is Disrupting Sex by Cindy Gallop!
  • (Day 2) Order & Chaos in UX
  • (Day 2) Mission to the Moon
  • (Day 2) Designing Interfaces at Spotify

If you want to meet with us while we’re in Berlin, tweet us at @TheStartupBus on Twitter.

StartupBus is a global network of tested entrepreneurial talent. Our alumni have gone through a resource constrained 72 hour road trip crossing the continent during which they had to conceive, build and launch new startups together with and against teams of strangers.

Our next competition in Europe will depart on 2 September from seven countries and ride to the Corda INCubator in Hasselt for Demo Day on 5 September and arrive at Pirate Summit in Cologne for our final event where the 10 best startups will pitch in front of investors. Want to ride with us?

Apply now at!

Announcing a new bus for StartupBus Europe 2016


We’re very proud to add a seventh bus to our StartupBus Europe 2016 competition: StartupBus France! StartupBus alumni Ivan Collombet and Louis Hénault stepped up as conductors and they now have a little less than two months to find 30-ish amazing hackers, designers and hustlers!

Route of StartupBus France 2016

The bus will depart from Paris on Friday September 2nd and visit Toulouse, Geneva and Lille before ending up at the Corda INCubator in Hasselt for StartupBus Demo Day and the final event at Pirate Summit in Cologne. The bus will compete against other buses departing from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

StartupBus France 2016 logo

Each bus is filled with about 30 hackers, designers and hustlers whom have 72 hours to conceive, build and launch new tech startups while crossing the continent and discovering the European local tech ecosystems.

Candidates can apply at

Interview with StartupBus producer Max Kleinedler


We had an interview with Max Kleinedler, who is a producer for StartupBus Germany in our StartupBus Europe 2016 competition (2-7 September). We’ll have a handful of buses driving from all over Europe to Corda INCubator in Hasselt for demo day and afterwards to Pirate Summit in Cologne. Participants are called “buspreneurs” and have to conceive, build and launch new tech startups in 72 hours while crossing the continent.

Who are you and what do you do when you’re not doing StartupBus?

I am Max Kleinedler and during my “normal” life I am a business consultant at Accenture in Zurich, Switzerland. When not in the Office I am spending a lot of my time with or on my motorbike exploring Switzerland and other countries.

Max Kleinedler

Tell us about your history with StartupBus. What regions have you participated with? What did you build when you were a buspreneur?

I participated in the StartupBus challenge in 2013 by joining the German StartupBus as a Buspreneur. At that time I was doing my studies at the University of Mannheim and just needed a change from the theoretical lectures at University.

At that time we build a mobile application which let´s you quickly create job offers to professional as well as amateur handyman on your mobile device. While we had a very good design and a decent understanding of go-to-market strategy, we were lacking a functioning prototype so unfortunately we didn’t make it into the finals.

What were 3 great things that you gained from the StartupBus experience? How do you hope to use this experience as a producer?

Comfort zone: Once you arrange yourself with the new situation, new people, tons of ideas and crappy wifi on the bus you will enter a pure state of productivity which I never thought to be possible. Due to the time and resource constraints you start focussing only on the things that matter and get more done in 72h than normally within weeks.

Ideas evolve: Many people have great ideas, but what really matters is the execution of these ideas. Bad execution turns the best ideas into standard products while standard ideas can become the greatest products when executed with passion, thoroughness and the right team. This is something you will definitely experience on the Startupbus – within only 72h instead of weeks.

The people: The most awesome thing about StartupBus are clearly the people you meet on the Bus but also alongside the whole trip. You may start as stranger to each other but once you mastered the intense 72h on the bus you will end up with new friends and potential future colleagues. Additionally, you become a part of a global community who is always willing to help and support each other.

What made you decide to become a producer?

While I was a part of the overall community after joining the bus as a Buspreneur I wanted to engage myself in making the StartupBus experience as awesome as it has been for me. Therefore I joined the German StartupBus as a producer in 2014.

Give us an idea about the country you’re producing for. What are some unique challenges that startups face in your country? What makes your country ideal for startups?

I think in Germany we are in a comfortable situation of having a grown and viable startup scene mixed with settled globally operating companies. Many accelerators as well as institutional companies are open to innovation and new ideas and willing to support initiatives like the StartupBus on a monetary but especially on a resource and mentoring basis. A challenge – and I think that’s the same for other countries – is the wifi connection on the bus. While we have a perfect connection within a city it tends to break completely on the Autobahn – but ok, that’s part of the StartupBus experience.

What does your country/region bring to the global StartupBus community?

Hopefully the winning team of 2016.

Half a year ago: StartupBus Germany 2015 started in Munich


About half a year ago the StartupBus Germany started their ride at the MakerSpace near Munich. After getting an inspirational talk from one of the startups that was part of the TechFounders accelerator, the teams began with the team formation process. Another highlight of the day was the short tour through the MakerSpace with the general manager Phill Handy.

StartupBus Germany 2015 at MakerSpace Munich

The MakerSpace is a high tech workshop near Munich with a lot of prototyping tools like 3D printers, laser cutters or even a waterjet cutter.

StartupBus Germany 2015 at MakerSpace Munich

Wanna ride the next StartupBus? StartupBus North America 2016 will be riding 15-20 May 2016 to Boulder Startup Week, StartupBus Europe 2016 will be rolling from 2-7 September 2016 to Corda INCubator for the semi finals and to Pirate Summit for the finals.

StartupBus armada sets sail for Pirate Summit in Europe



We’re very happy to announce the StartupBus Europe 2016 competition!  Our buses will depart on Friday the 2nd of  September and arrive right on time for the Pirate Summit which happens on the 6th and 7th of September in Cologne (Germany).

However, it’s not our first rodeo.  We also went to Pirate Summit last year and we absolutely loved it! The atmosphere is similar to SXSW’s in Austin though it’s smaller and with a German twist. Last year Pirate Summit hosted 1,000 carefully selected individuals, 200 of those being investors. The talks were refreshing and inspiring, the food and beer delicious, and what happened at the party – well – stays at the party. Oh, and Till and Claudia are just amazing to work with. Do we need to say more? Continue reading →

StartupBus.Accelerate in Europe


The last two weeks we held a few StartupBus.Accelerate events in Europe. StartupBus.Accelerate events are meant to help you give new insights and accelerate your way of thinking.

The first one happened at Co.Station Brussels and was a satellite event of Europe’s biggest open-source software conference FOSDEM. We had a few panel discussions about the impact of open-source software on tech companies with people like Jessica Rose (DreamFactory), Kris Buytaert (Inuits, Cfgmgmtcamp, …), Nils De Moor (Woorank), Charles Bailey (Bloomberg) and Lien Van Den Steen (DataCamp; they’re hiring developers). Continue reading →

This Year, StartupBus has gone Pirate

StartupBus Europe 2015 is a special guest with Pirate Summit, a tech Startup “jubilee” in Cologne. All StartupBus 2015 participants will get automatically accepted into Pirate Summit 2015.

Do you have what it takes to ride StartupBus EU?

Apply today

Want to know more about Pirate Summit? Read more:

What is Pirate Summit?

The first Summit was in 2011 and is now on it’s fifth run, founded by Till (Ohrmann, Captain Till) who is still first matey and CEO. The Pirate Summit celebrates entrepreneurship. It’s an unique meet-up of early-stage startups and investors on a rusty scrapyard. Core activities: Walk the plank pitch competition with 70 pre-selected startups from 50+ nations. Burning Man and Party on the first night. It’s a startup festival to celebrate entrepreneurship & foster strong connections among the european startup eco-systems. The mission of Pirate Summit is to connect the best early-stage startups of all seven seas with the best investors. A typical attendee is wearing jeans and an eyepatch, screaming “ARRR” all the time. We have fire, shanties and rum everywhere.
Pirate Summit, Cologne, Germany 3 September 2014 - Image by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

Pirate Summit, Cologne, Germany 3 September 2014 – Image by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

The Pirate Summit is an incredibly cool event that totally lived up to our expectations! It is a great opportunity to mingle with the European startup scene.

Philipp Moehring – Head of Europe at AngelList (US/UK/Germany)

Some etiquette rules from:

How to dress

Eyepatch, pirate hat, pet parrot, sword (fake please), a huge beard (if you can), wooden leg. Well, you get the concept. It is all about making your inner pirate visible. For the ones wondering whether we’re joking right now… No, we’re not!

Pirate Summit, Cologne, Germany 3 September 2014 - Image by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

Pirate Summit, Cologne, Germany 3 September 2014 – Image by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

How to talk

For sure you have come across the typical pirate ARRR! – which you can use in almost any situation – a few times already. Yep, this is lesson 1. Not too difficult, ey? Use it once in a while and you’ll be fine. We’ll make sure to remind you of that one as well :) Still, if you want to impress your fellow pirates even more, make sure to memorize a few of the following words and sentences as well.

It is a really down-to-earth event and the whole setting gives you the freedom to be who you are. People here act without an agenda and focus on what they can do for each other. I will definitely come back.

Fabio VolkmannBlitzbude (Germany)

Want to read more about Pirate Summit?

Check here: and here:

5 Epic Reasons to Join StartupBus Europe


In less than a week, the best and the brightest will come together to compete in StartupBus Europe, the continent’s most epic competition – combining the magic of a hackathon and a road trip to create the ultimate adventure on wheels. We’ll be hitting all the raddest hot spots and tech shops as we make our way to the invite-only Pirate Summit 2015, where buses from 5 countries will converge in the quest for StartupBus glory.

If you’re crazy enough to hop on a bus and build a business with a bunch of strangers in 3 days – or you know someone who is – send them our way

Epicness awaits. 


apply now


Still on the fence? Here are 5 more epic reasons why you should stop everything you’re doing now and sign up for StartupBus Europe:


#1: Do Something That Scares You.


If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. Push yourself past the limits of what you thought was possible and find out what you’re truly capable of. Whether you’re a hackathon junkie or a total n00b, chances are you’ve never been stuck on a bus with 20 strangers and given 3 days to build something – it’s nothing short of magic.


#2: Eurotrip – ‘Nuff Said.


Who hasn’t dreamed of driving across Europe on a double decker bus in a blaze of glory? This is your chance to travel all over the continent stopping at all the coolest spots and making plenty of killer products (and bad decisions) along the way…


#3: Make Epic Shit.


Think of it as a people accelerator, or a way to fast forward your life. You’ll learn more about yourself in 3 days than you have in 3 months. Cause when else in life will you have a completely safe environment to test out those crazy ideas with complete creative license?


#4: Join The Club.


You’ve heard it before: “the StartupBus will change your life” – but it’s only after 3 days of no sleep and countless hours on the road that you understand what it means to be part of the tribe. Become part of a #DreamTeam you can’t buy your way into and join ranks with some of the most elite hackers, makers and hustlers around. Start friendships that will last a lifetime and fill your rolodex with a list of insanely awesome people that you can call at any time.


#5: Pitch at Pirate Summit.


1st Rule of StartupBus: Always Be Pitching. This year’s finalists will get the chance to brush up on their elevator pitch skills on stage at Pirate Summit’s infamous ‘Walk the Plank’ competition. Route escapades aside (and trust us, they’re awesome) – the destination alone is worth the trip. When else do you get to crack some beers and nerd out in Odonien, a scrapyard in Cologne with rusty robots, zip lines and fires galore? 

Whether you’re a billionaire or haven’t started a company, if you’re the kind of person who dares to risk it all, this is the place for you.


Chances to change your life don’t come often. So what are you waiting for?


apply now