If you think garage startups are tough, how does it sound to start five businesses over a 48-hour bus trip?
Twenty-five strangers — including nine Aussies — boarded @TheStartupBus on Tuesday 9 March in San Francisco. As I write, the bus is travelling at 60 miles an hour east while the 25 passengers are brainstorming and building businesses from the coach.
The final destination of their epic bus trip is the South by Southwest (SxSW) Conference in Austin, Texas — the annual gathering of digital entrepreneurs and investors alike from around the world. They’ll be in time for a launch party on 12 March where judges and business mentors await their presentations. The winning startup will receive personal coaching from business angel Naval Ravikant and hopefully grant them “investment status” to be introduced to Silicon Valley’s top VCs and angels.
The “startup camp” type of programme is not in itself anything new — as time pressure and limited resources are also taken-for-granted by most entrepreneurs (remember Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin’s 7 days $500 startup experiment?). But the bumpy road is proving a surprising additional challenge — one passenger from Melbourne, Pieter Peach (@ppeach), reported that after 20 minutes on the road the group had to make a stop to buy motion sickness tablets.
Luckily @TheStartupBus is upgraded with lounges, bunk beds, a kitchen, and, most importantly, WiFi — to satisfy the needs of boarding tech geeks and media. You can follow their twitter account to receive live updates and ask them questions (if they have the time to reply). There is also live video streaming from inside the bus and a geo-tagging app to show you their current location.
@TheStartupBus is first conceived by Elias Bizannes, an Australian now living in America. In a world where startups struggle to attract publicity, getting onto @TheStartupBus seems to be a great way to make some noise.
Stay tuned for more updates as we receive insider information from the Aussie passengers.