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Announcing StartupBus North America 2015


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


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!

StartupBus Pacific Is About To Depart – Get On Now!


Applications are open for the few remaining spots on the inaugural StartupBus Pacific happening in Australia.  After 5 years in other parts of the world, StartupBus is excited to come to Australia, which is a sort of homecoming for StartupBus’ Australian founder, Elias. We are also thrilled to announce that our ride for this competition will be this land yacht below – built for the Rolling Stones upcoming tour!

StartupBus Australia

If you haven’t heard of StartupBus yet, the concept is simple – 25 developers, designers, and biz dev/marketing people (what we call hackers, hipsters, and hustlers) get on a bus as strangers – you have 3 days to break into teams and design, build, and launch a product – On a bus – At 110 km/h – To be pitched and judged on stage at SydStart Main Day 2014.  The road is rough and the internet is spotty – and there will be a several other curveballs thrown at you as well.

We depart Sydney Friday August 29, return Sunday August 31 stopping to spend the night and have events in Melbourne and Canberra.  There will be a full day to wrap up work and polish pitches September 1 before presenting at SydStart on Tuesday, September 2.  Of course – there is plenty more to it than that, but we can’t ruin all the surprises just yet…

StartupBus has been described alternately as a life-changing experience and “special forces boot camp for entrepreneurs”. It is definitely an experience to you will never forget. If you are the type of person who craves a challenge and wants to get outside your normal comfort zone, now is your chance  to make that happen – and join a family of over 1,000 global StartupBus alumni that represent some of the top tech talent in the world. If you are still reading and this all sounds exciting, you should just go ahead and apply – you might be one of us, after all!

Apply here to be considered for the remaining seats.

Email us with your questions as well –

Rocket Ship Startup – Space Apps Grows out of StartupBus Community


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 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 website to get news and announcements fro NASA in the future.

Being Brave, Launching Branch: Cemre Güngör

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.

Últimos asientos para participar en StartupBus 2013


Antena 3 cubrirá parte de la ruta hacia el Festival Pionner de Viena

Los asientos del autobús de StarupBus Spain comienzan a tener sus primeros nombres. El proceso de selección de candidatos continúa con el cronómetro en cuenta atrás. Cada vez quedan menos días para poner en marcha nuestra ruta de 2013 y los 25 emprendedores que subirán en esta edición ya preparan sus apuntes de inglés y dan forma a sus ideas antes de sumarse a esta experiencia.

Es por eso que el equipo que conforma StartupBus Spain está, desde hace meses, valorando las candidaturas de los inscritos a través de la web, para poder adecuar el nivel de perfiles y hacerlos complementarios.

Recordemos que para conseguir sacar adelante las startups, durante el trayecto del autobús hasta Viena -72 horas de carretera-, necesitarán aliarse con otros buspreneurs que estén en la ruta. Sumar las habilidades y fortalezas de unos con otros será la clave para conseguir llegar a la final en el Festival Pionner.

Por ello, la tónica general es que sean seleccionados entre los perfiles un 50% de programadores, un 25% de diseñadores y un 25% de negocio y marketing. De esta forma los equipos estarán completos y podrán diseñar su apuesta de forma integral, para presentarla ante el gran público.

Una iniciativa, StartupBus, que suscita cada vez más interés en España. Prueba de ello es que un equipo de Antena 3 será parte de esta aventura. Subirán al autobús español para dar cobertura durante el trayecto, relatando las fases de creación de los proyectos y presentando a los equipos que medirán sus fuerzas contra otros países europeos en la ruta. Una apuesta clara, de un medio de alcance nacional, por el emprendimiento, la juventud y el talento.

¿Vas a quedarte sin ser partícipe de esta idea? Visita y conoce a los equipos y las rutas que este año compiten por presentar el mejor equipo emprendedor en Viena, el próximo 30 de octubre.