This is our old news archive. Please visit our new Medium blog for the latest updates.

Archives › Uncategorized

Wastebits, An Alumni Success Story

0

On June 8th, Wastebits, founded on the 2012 StartupBus, will join alumni and current buspreneurs in Nashville for Accelerate: Nashville

First and foremost, Wastebits is about its people and culture. We were fortunate to start as a dream team with an almost unheard of mix of talent and experience that is perfectly overlapping. Frankly I attribute that to Scott’s talent assembling product teams. And while we’ve certainly had our share of tribulations, the emphasis and investments we’ve made focusing on our culture have proven to be our persevering strength. The funny thing about culture, though, is that its never ‘done’. The base might be pretty well established but its constantly evolving that, just like a romance, culture requires an on-going investment of time and resources to cultivate and ensure that the culture remains a critical foundational block that we can each depend on as we grow.

Our team on the software side grew this year to over 20 incredibly talented and passionate folks and we’ll finish out the year with well over $1million in customer driven revenue.

Dan Collins, our CEO, really was the impetus with his visionary ideas to revolutionize the waste industry based on his intimate knowledge and relationships within the industry. The tech side of the team had been looking for an idea to rally around, something we could all apply our passions toward together; and making the world a better place by (re)defining the future of the waste industry sounded like a fun challenge. And Dan’s personal values aligned very very well with our own, so it was pretty much a perfect match.

Scott Meier co-founded Wastebits on the StartupBus in 2012

Scott Meier co-founded Wastebits on the StartupBus in 2012

Our team on the software side grew this year to over 20 incredibly talented and passionate folks and we’ll finish out the year with well over $1million in customer driven revenue. We also anticipate needing to double headcount again by 1st quarter 2016. While we’ve achieved a lot of successes together (and circumvented quite a few the ‘normal startup rules’ in doing so), we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us and need to continue to grow to the team to help tackle the challenges.

Our size and growth are topics of on-going discussion for us. Immediately after our final pitch at StartupBus 2012, we collectively made the decision to be very intentional about our growth, ensuring to always get the right people on the bus first and to be very discerning on who are the ‘right’ people to be part of our team…of course employees and contractors, but also customers, investors and suppliers.

Immediately after our final pitch at StartupBus 2012, we collectively made the decision to be very intentional about our growth

Three big lessons from the StartupBus

  1. Getting the right people on the bus.
  2. Developing a trusted network.
  3. Focusing on what we need to do to drive value, and avoiding getting caught up in what everyone else says we should be doing.

From the Alum on our team, we had the impression StartupBus would pretty much be 4 intense, sleepless days figuring out how to build in 4 days what would normally take 6+ months.

And afterwards that seemed to be a pretty accurate depiction. Which was exactly why most of us resisted Scott’s prodding to get on the bus in the first place. Each of us was already pretty invested in our own endeavors. But then one by one, we had each found ourselves saying, ‘Well…if they’re in, I’m in’. And three years later here we are together still smiling (and still short on sleep!).

Ray often explains StartupBus as an immersive environment for cultivating entrepreneurial talent; likening it to a lightning MBA supported by a Community convinced they can accomplish just about anything together. Once you’re a part of the Community, its empowering and addictive!

“I’d rather see StartupBus on a resume than an MBA.” – Dave McClure, 500 Startups

After the Bus

We are each extremely driven individuals and had each been doing our own thing and supporting each other well before StartupBus. Coming together during StartupBus emphasized what was possible if we focused on the same vision together.

Funny enough though, early on on the bus each of us had considered joining other teams…but it came down to the fact that teaming together was just too compelling! And we’re all pretty happy with that decision now.

the StartupBus Community is chocked full of amazing individuals that really do care enough to work together to make the world a better place.

Advice to would be Buspreneurs:

Don’t get on a bus if you are happy to do what you are currently doing for the next 30 years of your life.

Getting on a bus will change your perception.

Red pill or blue pill…

Start a company not a startup.

Everything is connected, and everything matters.

People > Technology.

Its very apropos that our team came together and Wastebits was birthed at StartupBus.

store-banner

Smart Host is Coming to Nashville

0

As part of Accelerate: Nashville, the StartupBus North America 2015 finals event conference, last year’s winners Smart Host will attend to offer advice to 2015 buspreneurs. Here Nick Persico from Smart Host gives advice to this year’s crop.

The trip begins with each person standing up in front of the bus to introduce themselves and pitch an idea. Since you’re a hustler, the group will naturally have a higher expectation for how you conduct yourself.

The introductions and pitches are the only data points you have to make a decision about which team you’re going to be on. I tried to market myself as outgoing, not afraid of public speaking, and someone who will get the job done.

Instead of waiting for people to come up to me, I did what every hustler should do naturally. I went up to people I found smart and interesting to show interest in their idea.

Read more at nickpersico.com

Nick PersicoNick Persico was on the NorthEast StartupBus in 2014. His team, Smart Host won the 2014 North American competition. After winning, Smart Host is still in business having successfully completed the TechStars Accelerator program.

Meet Nick Persico and the Smart Host team in Nashville on June 8th. Accelerate: Nashville

store-banner

Capture the Culture of StartupBus

0
You’re about to join a society of hackers, hipsters, and hustlers that have all gone through the same experience you just signed up for. We’re united by a desire to build and disrupt the status quo, and we don’t often talk about our culture because we all understand what it takes to be a part of this community: passion and a little bit of insanity.
After this journey, you’ll be able to turn up in hundreds of cities around the globe and immediately plug into like minded people because of the StartupBus network. You’ll have what Dave McClure of 500 startups refers to as better than an MBA – the title of former Busrepreneur. And we want to make sure there is plenty of photographic and video evidence to prove it. To do that, we’ve plugged into one of our network to build us a custom version of the WeVue app, branded just for StartupBus, and accessible only by current and former members of our community.
WeVue is designed to help companies and organizations capture, enhance, and promote their culture through crowdsourcing photos and videos from their communities. In turn, we’ll be piping the best of that content directly to our website, sharing it across social media, and using it to entice future Busrepreneurs in the years to come.
Download for iOS
Download for Android 
You can sign up for the app by using the same email you used to pay for StartupBus, and once you confirm your email and log in, you’ll be in a private culture network created just for us. Every region will have an album just for them to post content to. We ask that you add the best photos and videos you’re capturing during your journey. Upload your pitch practice to get feedback from past riders and other buses, show of your awesome swag, and make sure to get some good shots of people passed out on rest stop benches at 2AM.
Want to win a $200 Amazon gift card? We thought you might be able to use it to buy all the cool products you didn’t realize you needed until after you got on the bus. We’ve got a super secret contest going that factors in who best embodies the culture of StartupBus and shows it on the app. You’ll get points for adding content, liking and commenting on posts from other regions, and showing the best progress on your pitch and the winner will be announced on stage in Nashville.
You’re on this bus because you’re pretty tech savvy, but if you need a full walkthrough of how the app works, you can find one here.
Good luck, god speed, tweet your sponsors, and don’t poop on the bus.

A Hustler’s Guide To StartupBus

0

The 2015 edition of StartupBus North America kicks off on June 4th when a new class of “buspreneuers” make the journey down to Nashville, TN.

Congratulations to those who have been selected to join the craziness that is StartupBus. You’re days away from being a part of an amazing and diverse group of people that have all experienced the ride. The circumstances, perspectives, and stories about “the ride” are different for everyone, which is what makes the experience so special.

I participated in StartupBus North America 2014 on the New York City bus and helped build a company called Smart Host. The idea was to automate pricing for short-term rental hosts on Airbnb and HomeAway. Things went well for us, as we wound up winning the competition and decided to quit our jobs to build Smart Host full-time. But more importantly, it was the beginning of many of lifelong friendships that I’m lucky to have.

This post is an attempt to share my perspective of climbing aboard the StartupBus as a hustler. In my opinion, the “hustler” is the most misunderstood and under-appreciated role in comparison to “hackers” and “hipsters”, or engineers and designers, respectively.

To help guide this year’s StartupBus hustlers, below are some tips and tricks that can help put your team in a position to be successful.

Pick the team, not the idea.

The trip begins with each person standing up in front of the bus to introduce themselves and pitch an idea. Since you’re a hustler, the group will naturally have a higher expectation for how you conduct yourself.

The introductions and pitches are the only data points you have to make a decision about which team you’re going to be on. I tried to market myself as outgoing, not afraid of public speaking, and someone who will get the job done.

Instead of waiting for people to come up to me, I did what every hustler should do naturally. I went up to people I found smart and interesting to show interest in their idea.

For example, I wrote down the programming languages and frameworks each person mentioned when they were pitching. I heard a couple of folks mention Python, so I tried to convince each of them to work on the same team. I assumed that it would allow the team to get started quickly, and not have people trying to learn a new programming language in order to contribute.

Overall, I optimized to find a team with skills that complimented each other. I honestly didn’t care about the idea. The team mattered to me most.

Like it or not, you are the team’s caretaker.

As a hustler on StartupBus, you’ll often find yourself doing things that have little to do with strategy or building the product. There are lots of little situations that will distract your team from getting things done.

It’s your job to take over all of those distractions:

  • What’s the team going to eat?
  • Do our conductors or the competition need something from us?
  • Is anyone on the team being blocked from doing their job?
  • Are our hotel rooms handled?
  • Does each person on the team know where they need to be at a certain time?

Be the person that runs interference on any person or thing that will distract the team from focusing on advancing the business. Your team may not notice it at first, but they will thank you for it afterwards.

Focus on the pitch even if you’re not the one pitching.

It’s common for StartupBus teams to have the hustler be the person that handles the pitch by default. Over the course of the trip, it felt like we were asked to pitch every fifteen minutes.

In our case, I would of been the one pitching Smart Host to hundreds of people if we hadn’t made a crucial last minute decision to change presenters. In hindsight, the decision was a no-brainer.

Here’s the backstory:

I spent the majority of the trip pitching, running interference, building the deck, and crafting the story we were going to tell on stage. We all just assumed that I was going to pitch because I was the hustler and spent the most time on it.

We started to realize that I was doing an awful job at pitching Smart Host. I wasn’t confident. I was stumbling. I was exhausted. Things weren’t looking good.

On the morning of Day 3, we were in the lobby of our hotel in Little Rock, Arksansas practicing the pitch. Our conductors were worried about how bad our pitch was, and suggested that we record it to get feedback.

Here’s one of the embarrassing recordings.

Pretty bad, right?

Soon after that video was recorded, I knew that I either had to get better at pitching fast or give the job to someone else on our team. I felt terrible about it, and did not want to let the team down.

Towards the end of the video, my face says it all:

A day passed, and my pitch did not get any better.

About an hour before we were set to hit the stage in the first round, one of our conductors suggested that we change presenters. The team did not want to take it from me, but I knew it had to be done. So we decided to switch and have Evan do the pitch.

It was clearly the right decision. Evan made an impression in the first round and stole the show in the semifinals to get us into the final round.

Here’s Evan pitching in the finals.

Whatever it takes.

A hustler does whatever it takes. It’s really difficult for a hustler to “show off” their contributions to the team. You won’t write much code. You probably won’t make the logo. It may not even be your idea in the first place.

You need to be the invisible glue that holds everything together. Your contribution to the team is the final presentation that hits the stage on competition day.

The real prize is personal growth.

The beauty of StartupBus is that you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You will accomplish things in 72-hours that you never thought were possible. Things will break. Tensions will rise. The realization that you’re on a moving bus with three dozen strangers trying to build a company will have you asking “what the hell did I just sign up for?!”

In the end, the amazing experience and new friendships make it worth all the hustle.

The Smart Host team posing with Robert Scoble after him and Evan did an interview for Rackspace at SXSW in Austin.

Announcing StartupBus North America 2015

1

2015 is an important year for us – not just because it’s a milestone: it’s been five years on the dot since we announced ourselves to the world. Since then, we’ve added ~1200 people our community across four continents in StartupBus competitions.  It’s been a long, strange trip – and we’re ready to go bigger than we have before in the year ahead.  There will be several major announcements made in 2015 to mark this coming of age that started with the announcement of the community councils.  Today, we’re making a key announcement that shapes the rest of the year:

StartupBus North America 2015

StartupBus NashvilleAfter considering many locations, we discovered an opportunity in Music City USA. We’re excited to head to Nashville, TN June 4-8 for the 36/86 Conference in conjunction with LaunchTN.

Elias, myself and the North American Directors recommended to the North America community council that it was time to move the North American competition away from Austin and the SxSW conference – for many of reasons – chief among them was the timing and the disconnect between the value and the cost for everyone involved.

After considering many locations, we discovered an opportunity in Music City USA.  We’re excited to head to Nashville, TN June 4-8 for the 36/86 Conference in conjunction with LaunchTN. Nashville has welcomed StartupBus with open arms and cultivated a strong alumni network over the years. With recent news like Google Fiber coming to Nashville, you know there’s something brewing there. Nashville will play host in 2015 with the Grand Finals as part of the opening event of 36/86 – as well as new activities to be announced soon…

The most meaningful relationships that come out of StartupBus form by sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the crazy people who are part of this truly unique community. This year in Nashville, we look forward to  providing a new way for the alumni community and the general public to meet the newest members and be part of the activities that facilitate those relationships.

Applications will be opening soon – if you are not alumni, we don’t make it easy to get an invite – not impossible, just not easy.  The easiest way to get considered is to pre-apply now.  Once applications open, this option will be gone…  We will be announcing the opening of applications shortly as well.

2015 is going to be an incredible year – are you ready?

Announcing the winner of StartupBus Europe 2014

0

The winner of the StartupBus Europe 2014 competition is Zumo!

Zumo pitching on stage at Pioneers Festival

Zumo was founded on the Greek bus and provides on-demand interactions using modern technologies like WebRTC. The typical use-case would be online retail shops like Zalando or Travelplanet24 having an “ask” or “help” button. Clicking the button would instantly open a video-chat or a chatroom with someone from the shop without the customer having to switch context and thus improving the customer experience.

Congratulations Zumo!

People of the Sun

0

We are “People of the Sun”, a solar startup founded by Allen Haroutonian, Jamie Madden and Simeon King. We have developed a whole new asset class powered by the sun & supported by technological advances that will deliver top tier returns to our investors…. the people.

Putting solar on your own roof doesn’t make sense for everyone, renters, people who live in apartments or homes not positioned for solar on their own roof, renting businesses or business without rooftops.

We have created an opportunity for anyone to invest in solar and help facilitate the mass rollout of renewables in Australia.

You might be asking why invest in solar, in a market where everything is going the other way. We have developed a method of harnessing the apathy, uncertainty, dodgy legislation and price fixing to make money for people who “Believe in the Australian sun”.

Our model works independently of government legislation on the Renewable Energy Target and is able to avert the influence falling feedback rates. And It’s is accessible to a wide rage of investors both locally and overseas.

Why? because we believe in the Australian sun too!

People of the Sun Launching @SydStart 2nd Sep 2014

www.facebook.com/peopleofthesun.com.au

DinerCompanion.com – StartupBus Pacific

0

Diner Companion changes your travel experience and provides an easy, convenient way for you to meet with other solo travellers.

Our vision is to eradicate loneliness from the world.

The Diner Companion app is an ‘Ice Breaker’ to connect you with Diner Companions matched to you via your location and user profile. Diner Companion creates and enables a social dining experience.

Once you have found a Diner Companion the app recommends venues for you to meet, connect, and unwind.

Diner Companion launches next week at SydStart. Get ready to download the app, connect and dine.

The Diner Companion founder team on the StartupBus are: Ken Taylor, Adam Whitehand, Karl Nelson and David Cristofaro.

 

FailPage – StartupBus Pacific

0

Our visionfailpage-square - copie

Error pages suck, and no one cares. We’re here to change that. FailPages is turning the boring ERROR 404 into the highest converting page of your website.

Our Mission

Failpage turns error pages into meaningful customer experiences. It allows businesses to  analyse metrics in order to improve conversion rates and customize error pages in order to increase brand awareness.

Our Team

Thomas is the David Livingstone of the 21st century. Originally a full stack developer from Melbourne, he’s spent the last 4 years building and managing large trafficed websites across Africa Steph is a funky Parisian on exchange in Melbourne. When she’s not creating start-ups on a bus, she rambles down the streets taking pictures of quirky strangers for her photoblog “Gueules de Parisiens” (Parisian Faces). Dean is Digital marketing guru and always puts the team first. If he is not thinking of the next great marketing campaign you will probably find him surfing or out riding his bike.