StartupBus, the hackathon/road trip combo started by Elias Bizannes nearly three years ago, is doubling the number of events it runs in 2012. There will be a maximum of twelve buses that run in the new year, up from six previously. But here’s the fun part: the organization will determine which regions get their own Startup bus through an online competition requiring hopefuls to “vote up” their region through social media.
Starting today, the organization is launching the voting website at StartupBus.com/unlock, which now features nine cities plus three schools (dubbed “tribes” in StartupBus lingo): Stanford, MIT and Harvard.
To vote for your region, you just click the appropriate button to tweet or Facebook “like” your selection. If your city isn’t represented on the list, you can email the address provided to be considered for inclusion.
StartupBus began as an experiment, but has expanded over the past couple of years to become an international event, competition and community – a group that now includes 200 people. In the U.S., the bus heads to SxSW in March and in Europe, it goes to LeWeb in December. The bus is currently popular in areas like San Francisco, New York, Boston, Cleveland (Cleveland?!) and Tampa due to active StartupBus alumni.
It should be noted that voting alone won’t ensure a region gets chosen in 2012. The final determination will be made based on the number and quality of the applications submitted when those open up in January. Says Bizannes, “regional hype without enthusiastic future applicants that are of a high calibre means nothing in the scheme of things.”
But it will help.
“We want to help raise visibility of the rising technology communities that have the local talent and passion to prove it,” says Bizannes. So get voting.