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Rocket Ship Startup – Space Apps Grows out of StartupBus Community

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Photo Credit: NASA

Mike Caprio Space Apps StartupBus NYCThis 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.

Ten reasons to apply for StartupBus Europe

Here are 10 undeniable reasons to make up your mind and just go for it.

  1. Learn so much in so little time

    Depending on the location of departure, you’ll be on the road for about 50 to 60 hours. In this time you’ll learn how to build a minimal viable product and focus on what’s really important when starting a business. There will be mentors on board sharing their ideas and experiences which will help you in the process.

  2. Meet awesome people

    Entrepreneurial individuals from all over the continent (and possibly beyond) that bring their passion for sharing and learning on board. Maybe you’ll meet the perfect co-founder on the bus. 20 to 30 new (Facebook) friends are included in the package.

  3. Boost your creativity

    With the influence of your fellow Buspreneurs and mentors, the creative bubble you’ll be traveling in, the inspiration of the view outside the bus, talks you have with people you meet and maybe also the lack of sleep, your brain will come up with new ideas and methods.

  4. Test your entrepreneurial skills

    So you think you can start and run a business? Read all the books there are to read about the subject? Subscribed to The Next Web, TechCrunch and Wired to keep up with the movers and shakers in the startup world? You might be ready for it. Or not. There’s no better opportunity to find out than being on the StartupBus.

  5. Show off your dev/designer/marketing skills

    We’re sure your skills are ace, so let’s get you to try them out in a new environment. Bring it!

  6. See Europe

    Well, that’s not entirely true. You’ll be amazed how little time there is to gaze out the windows. Then again you’ll be welcomed by organizations and entrepreneurs in different countries along the road.

  7. Meet awesome entrepreneurs along the way

    At the places you stop for meals or pitching, there will probably be a few entrepreneurs who are really curious to meet you and hear about your projects. A great time for feedback on what you’re building, but also to pick their brains about their experiences, vision, ideas, etc.

  8. Polish up those pitching skills

    A golden rule for entrepreneurs is to always be ready to pitch. No matter who asks you, have a smashing story at hand that make investors grab for their checkbook. But pitching is a skill on its own. While on the bus, you get to work on that skill and you get enough chances to practice on a real audience.

  9. Expand your network with invaluable contacts

    It doesn’t hurt to have some business cards ready to give out to your co-Buspreneurs, the mentors, the conductor, the entrepreneurs, journalists and investors you meet along the road… Also, after riding the bus, you’ll be added to the ever expanding worldwide network of alumni Buspreneurs: an incredible network of entrepreneurial and open minds.

  10. When was the last time you did something that frightened you?

    Doing something that frightens you everyday is a beautiful rule to live by, but it’s not always easy to accomplish, as it might not be easy to find something that frightens you. So here you go, here’s your frightener. Just apply and have a nice day.

Apply Now

Prepare that Elevator Pitch

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StartupBus Europe 2011 was the first edition of StartupBus in Europe. Arne Hulstein and Timan Rebel were the guys that organized it back then. I joined as a buspreneur and pitched an idea I had in the train on the way to the bus in Amsterdam.

It was about the fact that I hated my voicemail and that I never listened to it. I wanted to create an interactive voicemail application in the bus. People got enthusiastic about my idea and it became our idea. it was called Invoi. We worked for 72 hours non-stop as a team. Together with Twilio API’s and a couple of hours of internet we managed to pull together a MVP.

My job the last hours before we would arrive in Paris was to prepare a great pitch for our idea and MVP. I prepared and kept on preparing. I recorded every take, relistened it and wrote down or discussed what was good or bad about it.
I want to share some of those takes so you can experience what it was like for me. From nervous, to loud, to too fast, to forgetting important things I wanted to say at the time, a rollercoaster ride for sure ;).

This is how I like to prepare for a pitch I have to give.
Enjoy and I hope you practice your elevator pitch as well before you enter the stage of the StartupBus finals.
I love to hear how you prepare for your pitches and presentation.
My preparation paid off, Invoi won StartupBus Europe 2011.

December 6th 2011 17:00 (5 hours before finals)

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/107485718″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/107487229″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

December 6th 2011 18:00 (4 hours before finals)

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/107487233″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/107487240″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Lyrics StartupBus Anthem

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A couple of very cool guys that shall remain nameless wrote new lyrics for Wake Me Up from Avicii.
Deep and powerful lyrics that symbolize the journey of StartupBus.
We love to know what you think.

The lyrics

Wake me up, let’s start these things all over
Sunset’s rising, it’s this refreshing new
Intuition‘s source of this creation
It’s what you are, not just what you do

Pick me up, show me your directions
Let’s take the ride through open doors
Formal unions seem to be one nation
Unity is what we’re heading for

I’ll pick you up to cross the boarders
Ride our circles in the sun
Endless light of creation
I’d be glad if you’d travel with me to

If you want to listen to the song yourself.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/107295856″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

The Buspreneur GoldenGuide

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To be a Buspreneur you have to be passionate, creative, motivated and even more… Be ready, StartupBus is going to be a hard 3-days experience !
Paolo Bertolero, ex-buspreneur UK and current StartupBus Ita producer, shared with us his “Buspreneur Golden-Guide”, 13 tips for buspreneurs and aspirant entrepreneurs, that will help you to make your journey fun and successful. Enjoy!

The Buspreneur Golden-Guide

1. Don’t ever allow failures to weaken your entrepreneurial ambitions but learn from them
2. No matter which global ambitions you have for your startup just keep it really simple Continue reading →

Announcing StartupBus Europe 2013

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6 Countries, 150 Buspreneurs, and our own stage at Pioneer’s Festival. StartupBus Europe will be bigger and better than ever and promises to be an incredible and unforgettable experience for everyone.

Departing on October 27th for a roadtrip of four days, buses from Paris,  Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam & London will head to the Pioneer’s Festival in Vienna. As an event organized by the StartupBus community, a team of 30 volunteers in 10 European countries are working on creating a the most amazing StartupBus competition the continent has seen so far.

Applications open soon – be sure to register to our mailing list. Also, be sure to check out the reports of the buspreneurs Elise and Esther from the past busses.

We will keep you posted in the next weeks – lots of exciting news just wait to be announced!

Startbupbus from the Inside

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What to bring with you when getting on the bus ?

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Mike Caprio gives his feedback about Startupbus as a conductor in the US, and shares a precious “what to bring” tech-travel list:

  • “Carry-on” bag
  •  Smartphone
  • A MiFi
  • Extra batteries
  • Sleep aids
  • External storage
  • Food items
  • Medical items
  • Office supplies
  • An Ice Breaker

Great list, right ? When getting on the bus, do not forget to add also this most essential items to your list:

  • dedication
  • team spirit
  • creativity
  • endurance

Want more details about that list ? Visit Mike’s google plus page

10 reasons to apply for the StartupBus

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Imagine stepping out of your comfort zone, into a bus (that is actually quite comfortable in fact) filled with smart, scrappy, interesting, entrepreneurial people who are willing to set everything aside for a few days to build something beautiful with you. This is your chance to be part of a team that is about to make a difference and even change the world, all in the timespan of a trip through Europe on a bus. 

You’ve heard about it, you’ve read up about it, you’re thinking about applying… but you’re still unsure whether you should really fill in the application form and hit ‘send’?

 

Here are 10 undeniable reasons to make up your mind and just go for it.
Image

1. Learn so much in so little time
Depending on the location of departure, you’ll be on the road for about 50 to 60 hours. In this time you’ll learn how to build a minimal viable product and focus on what’s really important when starting a business. There will be mentors on board sharing their ideas and experiences which will help you in the process.

2. Meet awesome people
Entrepreneurial individuals from all over the continent (and possibly beyond) that bring their passion for sharing and learning on board. Maybe you’ll meet the perfect co-founder on the bus. 20 to 30 new (Facebook) friends are included in the package.

3. Boost your creativity
With the influence of your fellow Buspreneurs and mentors, the creative bubble you’ll be traveling in, the inspiration of the view outside the bus, talks you have with people you meet and maybe also the lack of sleep, your brain will come up with new ideas and methods.

4. Test your entrepreneurial skills
So you think you can start and run a business? Read all the books there are to read about the subject? Subscribed to The Next Web, TechCrunch and Wired to keep up with the movers and shakers in the startup world? You might be ready for it. Or not. There’s no better opportunity to find out than being on the StartupBus.

5. Show off your dev/designer/marketing skills
We’re sure your skills are ace, so let’s get you to try them out in a new environment. Bring it!

6. See Europe
Well, that’s not entirely true. You’ll be amazed how little time there is to gaze out the windows. Then again you’ll be welcomed by organizations and entrepreneurs in different countries along the road. Last year we had pizza at Nokia in Denmark, pasta in Berlin, breakfast at Google in Zürich and leftovers (from a party we showed up late to) in Paris. Europe-trotting, much?

7. Meet awesome entrepreneurs along the way
At the places you stop for meals or pitching, there will probably be a few entrepreneurs who are really curious to meet you and hear about your projects. A great time for feedback on what you’re building, but also to pick their brains about their experiences, vision, ideas, etc.

8. Polish up those pitching skills
A golden rule for entrepreneurs is to always be ready to pitch. No matter who asks you, have a smashing story at hand that make investors grab for their checkbook. But pitching is a skill on its own. While on the bus, you get to work on that skill and you get enough chances to practice on a real audience.

9. Expand your network with invaluable contacts
It doesn’t hurt to have some business cards ready to give out to your co-Buspreneurs, the mentors, the conductor, the entrepreneurs, journalists and investors you meet along the road… Also, after riding the bus, you’ll be added to the ever expanding worldwide network of alumni Buspreneurs: an incredible network of entrepreneurial and open minds.

10. When was the last time you did something that frightened you?
Doing something that frightens you everyday is a beautiful rule to live by, but it’s not always easy to accomplish, as it might not be easy to find something that frightens you. So here you go, here’s your frightener. Just apply and have a nice day.

Picture by Esther Gons

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.)