If you are open to new ideas, a self starter, a team player and an adventurous spirit with a can-do attitude and an aspiration to build great products that help millions of people through technology, you are probably a great fit for the bus. Additionally, your skillset should cover both strategic (long term planning) and tactical (get sh*t done) aspects of your domain.
We look for an equal proportion of developers (e.g. front end, back end, data science), designers (e.g. product, UX, visual design) and hustlers (e.g. sales, finance, marketing, research) on the bus. If you don’t have all the hard skills, no worries, learn them in the next few weeks. That’s what entrepreneurs do.
Go to https://northamerica.startupbus.com/apply.html to apply for a seat on the bus. In order to fill the application form, you will need to find an Invite Code.
Yes. Your bus ticket is $399 and you will be responsible to pay for hotels and some meals during the trip. We work with hotels to get cheaper rates and stuff as many riders as can comfortably fit into the rooms to reduce cost. You will also be responsible for your return travel from New Orleans. We recommend you stick around for a few days after the competition to network with all the awesome riders from all over America.
All riders must be at least 18 years old.
We can not offer refunds for rider fees.
All of the buses leave their departure cities on July 31st and head toward New Orleans (the New Orleans bus is a special case, that one leaves from New Orleans and then heads back to New Orleans). We’ll be stopping along the way to get some awesome mentorship from the leaders of the entrepreneurship communities of the cities we drive through. In keeping with the unpredictable nature of road trips, we’re not going to tell you which cities they are!
Once we all load up on the bus the riders take turns in front of the bus pitching themselves and an idea (be ready to take notes). Once everyone’s gotten a turn it’s your job to find the people that you’ll need to make your idea successful or to choose to work on someone else’s idea.
We will ensure that every team is balanced with the right amount of hustlers, designers and developers, and also make sure that nobody is hacking on the bus on their own.
Once the teams are formed StartupBus has a series of challenges for each day of the road trip. These challenges are designed to help your team work as effectively as possible and are generally things you should be doing when you’re starting a business somewhere more conventional like a garage.
Then it’s a 3 day road trip to New Orleans (or in the case of the New Orleans bus out and back). We stop at some awesome incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces for mentorship and to get a little time off of the bus. This is when you’ll be building your prototype, marketing and business strategies, and practicing your pitch.
On August 3rd we kick off a massive pitch competition in New Orleans where all teams will get the chance to pitch in front of our judging panel. Then on August 4th lucky few that make it through to the finals round will pitch again at the StartupBus finals where the competition gets even more intense, the judges get more prestigious, and the whole thing is live streamed to thousands of viewers.
Rule #1: There is no #2 on the bus.
Rule #2: See Rule #1.
Rule #3: Follow the Golden Rule: Treat your fellow Buspreneurs with respect.
During the first day of the competition, each team will dedicate time to creating a founders agreement and deciding on an equity structure.
We believe that monetary prizes distract teams away from the purpose of the hackathon - to build entrepreneurial skills of our riders and to form meaningful and lasting teams - thus there are strictly no monetary prizes on StartupBus.
Winning StartupBus gives your team international bragging rights and exposure. Occasionally we will work with sponsors to provide awards, however these prizes are not awarded for taking first place in the pitch competition.
(It also effectively repels all the greedy bounty hackers, who only goes to hackathons for the prizes and are detrimental to any founding team’s structure.)
Depending on the bus route, we may make stops by tech hubs, highway plazas or restaurants for purchasing lunch and dinner. Breakfast is usually available at the hotels we stay in.
Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergy concerns.
We will take care of the hotel situation for you. Our bus will arrive at our designated hotel, and you simply need to book and pay for your room upon arrival.
Yes, snacks, energy bars, fresh fruits, soda and water are complimentary on the bus.
Pack your bags like you would for a vacation. But of course, bring these:
These items are definitely not allowed on the bus:
Each person can bring one luggage and one backpack on board. You probably should pack for what your return flight allows.
All buses will be equipped with wifi. The wifi will be spotty at times but that just makes the experience more challenging (no one said StartupBus was easy right?).
Yes, all buses have a reasonable amount of power plugs.
Most buses will be equipped with toilets. We’re on a tight schedule but if you really need it let your conductor know and they can probably fit in a stop at a rest station in there too!
Your conductors will be prepared with a survival kit including dramamine (motion sickness medicine) and water. This isn’t our first rodeo so we know a few methods to help folks who are feeling queasy. If you are feeling motion sick let your conductor know and they’ll help out! If you’re really nervous about getting car sick maybe look into picking up a Sea-Band Wristband.
All attendees, sponsors, partners, volunteers and staff at our hackathon are required to agree with the following code of conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event. We expect cooperation from all participants to ensure a safe environment for everybody.
Our hackathon is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, previous hackathon attendance or computing experience (or lack of any of the aforementioned).
We do not tolerate harassment of hackathon participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate at any hackathon venue, including hacks, talks, workshops, parties, social media and other online media. Hackathon participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the hackathon without a refund (if applicable) at the discretion of the hackathon organisers.
Read more about our Code of Conduct here.
Photography is encouraged, but other participants must be given a reasonable chance to opt out from being photographed. If they object to the taking of their photograph, comply with their request. It is inappropriate to take photographs in contexts where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy (in bathrooms or where participants are sleeping).
Photos taken by StartupBus may be used at any time for future marketing purposes. You can review the media release agreement.