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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 @

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.



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:

— 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!





After an amazing demo session at the Treehouse hosted by Dogpatch Labs and our major sponsor Xero, we are pleased to announce this years finalists

Cleveland – Mom and Pop Co-op’s
Silicon Valley:  WalkIn
San Francisco:  Bouncr
Chicago: ShotPut
New York: TripMedi
Miami: MyNewman
Wildcard:  Fly By Miles

The winners were determined by a star panel of judges which included
– Philip Fierlinger: Co-founder and head of design at Xero
– Josh Baer: CEO of Other Inbox and Director of The Capital Factory
– Mike Hirshland: Founder of Dogpatch and partner at Polaris ventures
– Ben Lerer: Founder of Thrillist and partner at Lerer ventures
– Peter Flint: partner at Polaris ventures

Please come by and watch the finals this evening located at the Hilton in Salon D.  Or, if you can’t make it in person watch the live stream on UStream.



The StartupBus believes in putting our “buspreneurs” both while en-route to Austin and upon arrival in front of the biggest names around to provide premiuem feedback.  Therefore, we needed to assemble a judging panel consisting of startup veterans, angel investors and, venture capitalists to judge our teams during the semi-finals and finals.  Tonight, for the final event, we are pleased to announce the following judges panel

  • Naval Ravikant
  • Dave McClure
  • Tom Ball
  • Greg Veen
  • Stephen Anderson
  • Phillip Fierlinger

Previously, during the semi-finals we had a high caliber judging panel that included

  • Philip Fierlinger: Co-founder and head of design at Xero
  • Josh Baer: CEO of Other Inbox and Director of The Capital Factory
  • Mike Hirshland: Founder of Dogpatch and partner at Polaris ventures
  • Ben Lerer: Founder of Thrillist and partner at Lerer ventures
  • Peter Flint: partner at Polaris ventures



With a packed room and a stellar judging panel the excitement around tonights event couldn’t have been higher.  The teams provided a amazing presentations, rock-solid product demos and announced some amazing partnerships.  In fact, the teams were so good it resulted in two teams winning.  The StartupBus is pleased to announce that the 2011 StartupBus competition winners are

Please join us in congragulating them on their hard work and continued future success.



Below are the seven categories that have made the semi-finals. Each category represents at bus as well as a wild card category that was picked outside of the regions tied to each bus. The judging panel will pick one winner from each category to proceed to the grand final tomorrow.


Mom and Pop Co-operatives


San Franisco


Conekt me


FullyFollow me:


Silicon Valley


Speaker Meter

New York City


Lemonade Stand











The buses have rolled in and there’s been a ton of exposure in the media.  All the teams are busy building our their products and now progressing as real startups. Life decisions are being made by people. But things aren’t over yet.

Tomorrow at 4pm, semi-finals will be held where the best teams from each bus will be pitching to a star line up of judges at Dogpatch. The winners from the semi-final will proceed to grand final even at the Hilton at 6.30pm.

Details can be found in plancast which also lists our Facebook event listings.

– Semi finals:

– Grand final:

So who will make it to the semi-finals? No one knows — the decision will be made one hour before the semi-final event. Join us and see raw startup talent at its best!



The StartupBus is a competition, but it’s also a community. We’re not going to be peering over your shoulder to make sure you follow any “rules,” but, we do want to make sure that things runs smoothly and answer a few questions. So here’s the official Buspreneur’s Honor Code that everyone is expected to follow on the StartupBus:

– No existing code, businesses or projects: It’s got to be conceived, designed, built and launched on the bus. You can’t claim it was built during a hackathon if you came in with it already half built. IP and ownership also get really messy if you bring stuff with you. Public API’s are totally cool.
– Anyone who wants to can pitch an idea about pretty much anything and those who pitch the idea are responsible for gathering support and building a team from the people on the bus after all the pitches are finished.
– If your team would like to compete in the final contest, you’ll need an online demo (working product, video walkthrough, slides deck, etc.) and/or a video demo of it online by 11:59pm CST on the 10th. You are encouraged to continue polishing your product between “landing” and the final contest, but we ask that you also get us a frozen copy (in our repo, a zip file, etc) of the code by the same deadline so that if there are any questions we know what came from the bus and what didn’t.
– By all means, talk trash about the other regions, but don’t be “that guy”. We’re all here to have fun…don’t take it too far 🙂

We’re getting close! I hope you’re all as excited as we are!!



ah_img_14aI stepped onto the bus at 7am on a cold San Francisco morning. I was running a small startup and had never been to SXSW – what better way to go then to jump on a bus with a bunch of hackers?

We were all buzzed on lack-of-sleep adrenaline and caffeine as the bus sped down the freeway. People stood, sat, argued, pitched, rejected and switched teams in a matter of minutes. Most first-time founders spend the last 6 months of their last full-time job casually pitching some random idea that resembles the latest TechCrunch phase. But it’s not until you actually quit that you really decide what you’re working on: on the Startup Bus this phase took less than 2 hours.

I joined the DormDorm team: building the AirBnB for college dorm rooms over summer. I volunteered to code the back-end in Google App Engine: a technology I’d never touched before. Other team members were scrambling to build mockups, a front end, call colleges and get them committed to sell us room inventory by the time we arrived in Austin. We’d already verbally negotiated our share percentages.

In LA that evening we did our first real product testing. At Santa Monica pier, the site of my very first arrival in the US 5 years prior, we accosted passers-by with our ideas. Some captured on video, some shot down in flames. Countless products are driven by a vision wholly internal, instead of just asking someone in the street or coffee shop. On the Startup Bus, that happened in the first day.

The next day, the Valley of Despair had hit – code wasn’t working, 3G connectivity was down, we were late, and the hacked-together map I’d built to track the bus on the journey was broken under a deluge of site visitors. I tried scaling out the capacity for the site but converting to a paid account took hours to get authorized and in the meantime the site was crashing hard as we broke in and out of patchy Internet waves.

By that evening the worst had passed. We were triaging features like there was no tomorrow (actually there was only 1 tomorrow). The site was coming together and we’d started blasting out messages on Twitter and Facebook to create buzz. We could see the path to success and a couple of cans of warm beer were taking the sting off the cold.

The final day recaptured some of the adrenaline of the first hour. It was a true launch day – just get the code out the door. When you’re in the zone, everything else disappears: the surrounding body odours, the lack of sleep and fresh vegetables, the jolting of the bus as it wound towards Austin. Deploy-code-find-bug-fix-bug-find-regression-fix-regression-realize-regression-is-not-fixed-abandon-feature-that-introduced-bug-deploy. The final Command-D was hit as the bus driver pulled up the hand brake.

The Startup Bus journey goes from anticipation, to vision and product definition, through arguments and negotiations, the agony of last-minute regressions and the glory of a successful launch. Learning to focus only on what matters as you hurtle towards a fixed launch deadline: to me that’s the very DNA of a startup.

Mick Johnson was one of the 25 buspreneurs in 2010. Following his StartupBus experience, he was accepted into Y-Combinator and launched Whereoscope.