Aboard the New York City Startup Bus.

Imagine this: You and a team of strangers, on a bus, traveling at 60 miles per hour, have 72 hours to conceive, build and launch a startup. That’s StartupBus in a nutshell.

StartupBus began life as a joke, a roadtrip starting in San Francisco with friends, but with the twist of launching a startup on arrival in Austin in time for the SxSW technology conference. Somehow though, people thought Elias Bizannes (the founder) was actually serious. A few unexpected blog articles and many emails later, he was stuck with having to now make good on his pub night promise.

StartupBus has since evolved into a competition and grew six-fold with buses departing from San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and Miami. In 2011, an impressive 156 ‘buspreneurs’ participated who produced 38 different products.

Talk about turning an experiment into an international community! I can’t help but chuckle at the term Buspreneur. To become one, apply to the StartupBus.

StartupBus – what a refreshing and charming concept! Hat tip!

13 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Are glasses a requirement?

  2. Nothing would get me on that bus.

    It doesn’t matter how many ‘ideas’ you have if they’re not put into practice.

    And you need to communicate with people…not stare at a screen for starters.

  3. Tina, thanks for the post! To answer “Curator” though, I just want to say that StartupBus literally changed my life and the lives of nearly everyone on our bus – we communicated fine with each other on the bus and off the bus, as we made multiple stops along the way to meet other entrepreneurs across the country; and we all came out of the road trip with new friends, skills, and confidence. Ultimately it wasn’t about the companies we created – it was about the experience and the camaraderie and network we built.

  4. >you need to communicate with people…not stare at a screen for starters.

    We get on that bus armed with nothing but our skills and we get off that bus with working prototypes for products. What you see in the picture is people working, mostly at creating computer programs.

    What would you rather have us do? Call people, collect a bunch of letters of intent where our friends and family make empty promises to buy our nonexistent product, register a Twitter account to pester potential followers and broadcast a litany of mysterious tweets in the hope of “going viral”, graph fictional sales projections in Excel (or maybe go the whole mile and create a masturbatory “chose your own adventure” sales game in Excel whose every ending is “congratulations you’re rich”), create a logo (or mascot), register a Facebook page and setup some Google Apps accounts so we have email addresses, all so that we can get off the bus for a VC dog-and-pony show where we get on stage and pontificate majestically about the infinite splendor of our imaginary creations, accompanied by shiny Powerpoint decks that end with links to LaunchRock page? Please. There are already enough events that evangelize the gospel of smoke and mirrors; Startup Bus is simply not one of them.

    -Jordan (the bearded dude with the MacBook in the bottom right)

  5. An unfortunate comment from “curator”, who made a snap judgement about the event and the people involved based on a random photo.

    Quite ironic, considering how the majority of this event consists of shipping products under crazy constraints.

  6. Great photo! Great experience. StartupBus made me a better entrepreneur. Hands down. Would love permission to snag the photo to post on Twitter and FB. Definitely will credit you and drop the link along with it. May I?

  7. Wow what a great response from Jordan. I’ve attended events where you call a bunch of people, try to get some LOI signed, and sell an idea (LSM) but those events serve another purpose. They are great for validating your idea and saving you from wasting time on a product no one wants but the Startup Bus has a completely different focus. I don’t think it’s even fair to compare them.

    Startup Bus is about a bunch of extremely smart and talented hustlers, hackers, and hipster being challenged to actually build something in a very short, pressure packed time period. Sure it’s awesome if a some teams build a product that gets real customers but it’s also totally fine if they just build some really cool tool that will never make money. The Startup Bus is all about “doing” and the relationships and connections you build with the other buspreneurs in the process.

    That’s why I’m so excited a got my invite! Now just waiting to see if I made it (fingers crossed)!

  8. OK chaps. I went back and read the post again and the limited information…’Imagine this: You and a team of strangers, on a bus, traveling at 60 miles per hour, have 72 hours to conceive, build and launch a startup.’ still leads me to the same conclusion.

    It’s not for me.

    You are among like minded people, and it’s great fun you say, but is that actually getting a business off the ground? I can imagine there are few investors who would be on there with you.

    ‘Conceive build and launch a startup’. Did anyone actually launch one?

    Cemre, it’s not an ‘unfortunate comment’ it’s a realistic one from someone who has been in the creative industry for a very long time.

    Mike, this could be a cultural thing: In the UK it takes more to start a company than it appears to in the US. If you enjoyed the experience that’s good.

    Jordan, I’d recommend to anyone who wants to start a company of their own to have a job and make contacts in that industry, then make sure that their new business venture is off the ground before they need to rely on it. I’m glad you had a fun trip.

    Nick, I hope your ambitions are fulfilled by the bus.

  9. I think I get where you’re coming from Curator. But maybe you should consider more thoughtfully the value of building strong bonds with, and becoming part of, an international alumni network with hundreds of other top talents in one’s industry. StartupBus alums gain massive value from their network and move on to greater and greater things, all because of a common road trip experience.

    I see that you’re focused on the “starting a business” portion of the trip. But you’re failing to see that it’s about much more than that. The event is not the outcome.

  10. Mike, the way it was initially presented here was about the trip.

    If it works, I think it’s brilliant!

    Then maybe we need the same thing here in the UK.

  11. I think we’re coming to the UK soon! We just did StartupBus Europe last year, going from Amsterdam to LeWeb, but we need to loop Great Britain in. Ravi Kotecha and Kejia Zhu are our men in London!

  12. That’s excellent! I can see where you’re all coming from too.
    I’d like to help, and will post any information I can to spread the word in the UK. Please give me more details if you can.

  13. I want to ride in that bus with my best friend who goes to cosmetology schools.