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Furthering the awesomeness that is the StartupBus community, SpaceApps, an event that owes some early momentum to the StartupBus alumni community is being featured by NASA & the White House in their submission to the White House’s Open Government Awards (Open Government Awards & Open Government Partnership).
We’re thrilled to announce that the International Space Apps Challenge is one of several programs featured in the White House application for the Open Government Partnership’s new Open Government Awards, which recognizes efforts to improve government policies and to better serve citizens through two-way engagement. – Read More at open.nasa.gov
Be sure to check out the letter written by Mike Caprio on behalf of StartupBus.
According to Forbes:
Instacart, the San Francisco startup that uses a distributed network of smartphone-equipped shoppers to provide home delivery from supermarkets in as little as an hour, has raised $44 million in new funding, bringing the total amount of capital it’s raised to $55 million.
Read More on Forbes.com
Back in March we caught up with Brandon Leonardo, who cofounded Instacart with Max Mullen after meeting on the Silicon Valley bus. Here’s part of the story:
I became the first engineer at AngelList as a result of the inaugural StartupBus event and an introduction from Elias to Naval. While at AngelList, I got to know Apoorva Mehta because we worked in the same co-working space. I met Max Mullen a few months later while conducting the Silicon Valley StartupBus. A couple years later the three of us started working together on Instacart.
Brandon Leonardo, co-founder Instacart
Congrats to Brandon and Max!
Ricky Robinett was one of two conductors on the inaugural Kansas City StartupBus. In this blog post, Ricky recounts some of the lessons learned and some of the more harrowing experiences on the route including this excerpt about driving on ice and spontaneous karaoke.
I-40W headed towards Little Rock is covered in ice and the bus has traveled 30 miles in 6 hours. I’m beginning to fear that I may have to tell the 20 entrepreneurs riding along that we’re going to pull over and sleep on the bus. That’s when it happens. Someone asks our bus driver Eddie to crank the radio and starts singing karaoke. It’s not long before the entire bus has joined in and we forget about the extreme circumstances we’re in. For me, this moment embodies what it was like to conduct the 2014 Midwest StartupBus. I was surrounded by incredible people who were constantly amazing me and I wanted to share a few things they taught me.
Read More “What Conducting The Midwest Startupbus Taught Me”
Photo Credit: NASA
This weekend will see the kickoff of the 3rd annual NASA’s Space Apps Challenge, a global hackathon pioneered by NASA and fostered from its humble beginnings by the StartupBus community across the world – especially by StartupBus NYC, which this year is hosting NASA’s global mainstage for the entire event at Space Apps New York City in partnership with the NY Tech Council.
On the History of Space Apps and StartupBus
The Space Apps Challenge was literally a napkin idea between folks working at NASA in open government and technology and innovation that actually became reality. They realized that people around the world were willing to collaborate and locally organize events to solve problems for NASA, and piloted the program in 2012 on a next-to-nothing shoestring budget.
The Space Apps Challenge was literally a napkin idea
StartupBus became involved with Space Apps right from the beginning. It started just after the StartupBus North America 2012 event; our New York Buspreneurs had come back from Texas and a good number of them wanted to keep hacking together on projects, so they asked me to find another hackathon that we could all participate in. I asked if anyone in the entire StartupBus organization could connect me to NASA or the Space Apps organizers – and it turned out that Buspreneur Sara-Jayne Terp (née Farmer) could, so she connected me to Aaron Huslage and he helped me get on a phone call that was happening between the NY Tech Council and NASA to rapidly organize the first Space Apps NYC site. This is where I also met our co-organizer Alice Ng (who later became a member of StartupBus herself).
The event was so successful that they brought it back for another year and more than tripled the size of it, again spending barely $70,000 on the entire thing but getting back approximately the value of 33 years of output from a single NASA employee, literally millions of dollars of work.
On similarities and differences between StartupBus and Space Apps
StartupBus is a race and a competition; teams compete with each other on their bus, then the best teams from all the buses compete against each other… and the focus on teams and projects is nearly always commercial to some degree, creating a new product or addressing the needs of some market. Space Apps is about collaboration – thousands of people all over the world will work together, share resources, and deliver real solutions to real problems; it’s not about making the next hot new mobile app, it’s about creating tools for protecting people from landslides and educating people about why we need to explore space.
But Space Apps and StartupBus have a lot in common as well – even though Space Apps is focused on solving the world’s problems and StartupBus is very focused on startups and business, both events can lead to creating new companies and industries, and both of these organizations are ultimately about creating communities. And they both have a mission of changing the world, disrupting the status quo, and improving life for everyone.
On Why StartupBus Alumni Are Attracted to Space Apps
Buspreneurs are a unique bunch. They are doers and dreamers, and they want to make the world a better place. Startup culture can often be a bit oppressive, navel-gazing, and elitist – it’s good to get away from that sphere of influence as often as possible. And people in that realm may talk big about changing the world, but what are they *really* doing about it? Most of the time they’re really just talking about making money with a new kind of photo sharing service. Space Apps is an actual opportunity to truly change the world, and Buspreneurs want to make positive change happen for real.
On the Success of Space Apps
A number of things make Space Apps successful – NASA, of course, is the keystone. NASA is providing all of its output for free to the public; data, imagery, software, all of it. They’re giving away all of these resources and they’re saying: “Make something with this. Help us solve the world’s problems.” The NASA brand is solid gold – everyone loves NASA, and for good reason. When was the last time you threw an SUV to Mars and landed it gently on its surface with a rocket crane?? Who doesn’t love the idea of working with NASA, meeting astronauts, building robots and rocketing them into space to explore the universe? Well, go ahead and do it. Everyone can get involved and actually do these things through the Space Apps Challenge.
everyone loves NASA, and for good reason. When was the last time you threw an SUV to Mars and landed it gently on its surface with a rocket crane??
That’s the real driving force, that passion and romance for space. Look at what all the billionaires of the world are pursuing – nearly all of them are doing some kind of work to get into space. Elon Musk, Peter Diamandis, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson… the list of people pursuing commercial activity in space goes on and on. So there’s another reason, there’s great economic opportunity involved as well – NASA’s technological advancements have almost always led to great leaps forward in the tech sector, and this is just another way to incubate innovation, just in a grassroots fashion.
How to Get Involved with Space Apps
Anyone can get involved at any time – sign up at http://spaceappschallenge.org
to participate at a local site or virtually online this weekend. And the site itself is more and more becoming a resource center – previous challenges and their solutions can be seen on the archived 2012 and 2013 sites. Everything produced at the Space Apps Challenge is made completely open source and free to the world, so there are now numerous Github repositories containing the work of thousands of people – and NASA has open sourced massive amounts of its own code through various programs too.Anyone can apply from anywhere in the world to locally organize their own Space Apps site next year. Projects have continued past the hackathons, companies have been formed to continue tackling NASA’s challenges. There are a ton of opportunities to get involved, you just have to step up and take part! Follow @SpaceApps on Twitter, like their page on Facebook, and register today at the http://spaceappschallenge.org
website to get news and announcements fro NASA in the future.
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.
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.
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.
StartupBus is back for 2013 and bringing more excitement than ever to a highway (and computer screen) near you. StartupBus brings six buses from the US and Mexico, fills them full of strangers tasked with designing, building, and launching a startup in three days – at 65 MPH en route to Austin, TX. The “Hackers, Hipsters, and Hustlers” that fill the buses accomplish amazing and impossible things in time to pitch to a panel of tech experts and investors.
Continue reading →
StartupBus is coming back for another amazing event in March 2013!
We are currently heads down planning the last details of this years event. This year we are expanding upon the format and bringing on some premier sponsors that will help make the event better than ever.
This year will have the America’s top entrepreneurial regions facing off against one another to find out which region is “the next Silicon Valley.” Each region will be represented by their capital entrepreneurial city:
- West Coast represented by Silicon Valley!
- East Coast represented by New York City!
- South East represented by Tampa Bay!
- Midwest represented by Chicago!
- Mexico represented by Mexico City!
Each of these cities represents an amazing hot bed of tech talent, business, and innovation. In StartupBus tradition, these cities will be facing off against one another to battle it out to determine which region will reign supreme!
Other cities can still join
If your city isn’t on the list, it doesn’t mean a bus can’t depart from there. Please let us know on Twitter and we will take a look!
Register: Connect your Facebook account to the StartupBus.com to let us know you’re interested and get updates on the competition.
Get invited. StartupBus is invitation only and prides itself on the tradition of only accepting the best. After you have registered, and If you’ve got potential, one of the regions conductors might send you an invitation. A better bet is to look on Twitter and Facebook for select people offering invitations and have them vouch for you by inviting you.
Apply. Once invited, StartupBus.com will show you options on how to apply. Go ahead and be creative — we usually have several thousand apply each year, and this year we are expecting even more. So ake yourself stand out!
Confirm your attendance. If accepted, congratulations! Details about this step will be sent out to those accepted sometime in early February.
At the SXSW, StartupBus became an institution. TechCrunch explains StartupBus and what we are up to: http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/07/startupbus-2012-day-one/
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.)