The StartupBus: The True Story Of 12 Strangers Building Three Startups, Getting Real

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We recently came across The StartupBus, a Startup Weekend-like initiative, except that it involves a bus and a roadtrip. The program will bring together 12 strangers to drive from San Francisco to in Austin around the 12th of March, in time for the Interactive portion of the SXSW festival. The idea is for the entrepreneurs to present ideas and actually develop three different startups during the two to three day bus ride to Texas.

The founder of StartupBus, Elias Bizannes (he works for Vast.com) will handpick the twelve individuals. Bizannes thinks of it as a “startup camp” of sorts but on a bus. According to the StartupBus’s site, the bus will have lounges, bunk beds to rest, a kitchen, and WIFI. Any participating entrepreneur is required to put the startup they end up developing up for auction at the end of the process, to “enable people in the team to exit.”

A few weeks after the event, the entrepreneurs will hold an auction to buy the technology they’ve developed. StartupBus will also be holding an event at SXSW to present the ideas. This rule is designed to clear IP issues and reward the effort of those who are participating. About 20% of a final sale price will be put towards to cover costs of the experience. StartupBus is also looking to sponsors to help contribute to to event expenses. Bizannes says he already has enough people to fill the bus but needs to raise at least $10,000 to kick of the program.

As we’re written in the past, these sort of short-term, joint- startup development programs, such as StartupWeekend, can stir up emotions and controversy. We’ve seen more than a few situations that have occurred in the handful of cities that have had hosted a Startup Weekend event. And it’s no surprise that controversies will arise when a hundred or more people together for an intense working session and ideation, and money (in the form of stock) is potentially involved. Here’s a detailed description of how this has panned out in some cases.

Of course, the StartupBus only involves 12 people, so it has that in its favor. But, the entrepreneurs are stuck on a bus for a matter of days, in what sounds like a fairly enclosed space, which might exacerbate any tensions that are taking place. Details are still being ironed out, says Bizannes, but it should be interesting to see what comes out of the ambitious project.

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