Bus + Entrepreneur = Buspreneur!
You will ride the StartupBus to become one.
A conductor is the lead organizer and mentor on a bus. They had previously rode the bus before, and the understand what your team needs at each stage.
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 startupbus.com/apply to apply for a seat on the bus. In order to fill the application form, you will need to find an Invite Code.
Applications are by invitation-only. To be invited, you can reach out to former Buspreneurs or @TheStartupBus and convince them that you’re the right kind of awesome and adventurous. You can also connect on the StartupBus website and make a lot of noise so that we notice and invite you.
As soon as humanly possible- candidates are chosen on a rolling basis so you should submit your application if you want to secure a spot on the bus.
Yes. Your bus ticket is $399 and it includes a lot of good stuff:
Please note that meals, hotel accomodations, the return flight, and your motion sickness medications are not included. Some buses may be equipped with light refreshments and snacks depending on sponsorship.
All riders must be at least 18 years old.
We can not offer refunds for rider fees.
Each competition has a different destination, check the Buses section for more details. 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 the final destination. 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 the last two days of the journey we kick off a massive pitch competition at the final destination where all teams will get the chance to pitch in front of our judging panel. Then on the last day the 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 Code of Conduct and the Golden Rule: Treat your fellow Buspreneurs with respect.
While there are no rules to riding the StartupBus, there are certain criteria that needs to be met for your team to be chosen as an eligible competition entry:
We will have the right at our sole discretion to determine whether an entrant is eligible for the competition and may disqualify at our sole discretion.
Our goal with StartupBus is to develop people, not real companies, so how teams decide on the equity process is part of the learning we hope to inspire. For this reason, we don’t take an ownership stake and let the teams decide on their own. During the first 3 days of the competition, each team shall 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 competition - to build entrepreneurial skills of our riders and to form meaningful and lasting teams - thus there are strictly no monetary prizes on the 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.
In short: StartupBus arranges the hotels for each night; you pay for your room when you arrive.
We will arrange with designated hotels ahead of time for each night of the journey, to make sure there are enough rooms for everyone. During the trip, when our bus arrive at the designated hotels at night, you will be guided to the hotel concierge to pay for your room.
You are free to share or not share a room with other riders, at your own cost. You can negotiate and decide amongst your fellow bus-mates.
However, we strictly do not allow co-ed rooms throughout the trip.
Yes, snacks, energy bars, fresh fruits, soda and water, if provided by our sponsors, are complimentary on the bus.
We are legally obligated to let the bus driver sleep at least once during the 72-hour journey.
The bus may stop moving in New Orleans but the Buspreneurs don’t. Upon reaching the final destination, the StartupBus teams hit the ground running - launching and promoting their products, pitching to VCs, connecting with other Buspreneurs and of course, enjoying all the parties the city has to offer.
As long as you like. We recommend you stick around for a day after the competition to network with all the awesome riders from all over America, as well as visiting all the cultural institutions and tech communities.
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.
We’re always looking for a few good journalists - pitch your idea to our team and convince them that you should be on a bus.