StartupBus: the mobile startup centre
StartupBus offers creative people a new approach to starting a business. Aboard a collective StartupBus bus journey, international IT experts and young entrepreneurs form teams to develop concepts for technology startups.
There are many ways to start a business. But how many would consider taking the bus? What sounds at first like a crazy idea has already developed into an international network of committed startup entrepreneurs. For anyone keen to start their own company or involved with innovative business ideas in the world of technology, a trip in the StartupBus may prove an interesting option.
The route to starting a business by bus
‘Are you crazy enough?’ – reads the first question on Startupbus.com, the website-with-a-difference for business startups. This is where visitors discover how a spontaneous idea of Elias Bizannes from Sydney became a globally networked community of technophiles and business founders. Early in 2010, the young entrepreneur was planning a trip by bus from San Francisco to Austin, Texas, to take part in the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference and Festival (SXSW). He imagined what it would be like if, during the three-day bus journey, he could bring together creative minds from Australia and America to exchange ideas and experience. That seed rapidly bore fruit: in March 2010, the bus trip was undertaken by 25 strangers, who engaged in dialogue, typed a few ideas into their notebooks and formulated business models. By the time of their arrival in Texas they had developed six startup companies.
Startup competition inspires the international community
The following year, that original idea developed into the creative competition that now makes StartupBus so unique: in March 2011 six buses carrying around 160 passengers travelled across the United States and arrived in Austin on schedule with 38 startups.
Today the mobile StartupBus competition remains an ideal challenge for young talent in the field of modern technology. The bus provides an opportunity for like-minded individuals – known as ‘buspreneurs’ – to exchange ideas. Successful participation in the competition guarantees entry to the international community, which today numbers over 1,000 members worldwide. This informal network offers StartupBus alumni not only inspiring exchange on matters of innovative technology. Members also provide mutual support with developing and growing new startups, offer each other advice and establish contacts with financial backers and partners.
The StartupBus itinerary: America, Europe, Africa
The buses make stops along their routes to visit established startups, organise workshops on topics to do with creating a business, and invite experts to give presentations and take part in discussions. The first European bus trip took place in December 2011 – from Amsterdam to Paris, where the ultimate destination was the international conference for digital innovation, LeWeb.
For future creative bus tours in Europe, StartupBus merged with FounderBus, a startup created by entrepreneur Sebastian Sielmann from Germany, who now heads up the subsidiary StartupBus Europe. Following several organised journeys in the United States and Europe, the first African tour took place in October 2013. After its departure in Harare (Zimbabwe), the bus made stopovers in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, before reaching its final destination – over 2,500 kilometres later – in Cape Town.
Full speed ahead for creative minds and their startups
The organisers of StartupBus Africa were certain of the enormous potential on the continent for startups in the field of modern technology. Many African countries are currently undergoing a technological revolution. Mobile phone technology, in particular, can play a part in solving current problems, for example by providing improved access to health and education services.
In April 2013 StartupBus Asia set off on its first trip from Singapore. During this journey a group of students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) exchanged ideas on the Startup Jobs Asia initiative. And when in August 2014 a bus bearing the distinctive StartupBus logo set off from Sydney, everyone aboard agreed it was just a staging post on the way to the Pacific Ocean region.
Startups to go – what do YOU think?
Anyone interested in taking part in a trip aboard the StartupBus and establishing a business startup can find out how to apply by contacting StartupBus directly.