StartupBus 2013 Day 5: Finals

On the final day of the StartupBus 2013, Americas hackathon competition, the judges had to choose two teams out of the six. Then, out of those two, they would pick one winner and one runner up.

Team GhostPost.io at StartupBus 2013

Team GhostPost.io at StartupBus 2013

Here are the six finalists from the previous day (to read more about that day and semi-finals go to my post: StartupBus 2013: Day 4, Semi-Finals):

  1. Grassroots.io (SF): kick-starter for activism campaigns (e.g., FixTheDMCA.org)
  2. GhostPost.io (SF): anonymous chat
  3. uSupply.me (Mexico): marketplace for construction industry
  4. NextChaptr (Chicago): book publisher with a kick-starter model
  5. CareerMob (NYC): website that helps military professionals find their civilian career
  6. Cloudspotting (Mexico): draw on photos of clouds
Team Grassroots.io at StartupBus 2013

Team Grassroots.io at StartupBus 2013

Everybody else was allowed to sleep in till 10am. An unheard of luxury, which came in handy for people who didn’t sleep well for the past week and went partying on the previous night in downtown San Antonio.

Then our pack rode shuttle buses to the same place at Rackspace HQ. We weren’t very lucky because our driver got lost, took narrow back roads, and drove in circles really slowly (more on this later).

StartupBus 2013 hacking

StartupBus 2013 hacking

The pitches of almost all of the finalists improved greatly. I especially liked how much improved Grassroots.io’s pitch (I wasn’t able to find the video but here is the GoAnimate clip). Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same about the Cloudspotting or GhostPost teams’ pitches. They just weren’t able to replicate the success of the previous night. :-( It felt like the fun aspect of the crowd cheering and support wasn’t there. Maybe the audience wasn’t surprised any more?!

After some deliberation Robert Scoble, the famous racker evangelist, announced the runner up: NextChaprt; and the winner: CareerMob! The latter decision was unexpected for a lot of people (you could see it on their faces), and many complained that CareerMob doesn’t have anything live (even a website), and has no business model whatsoever. I guess the charisma of the Air Force lieutenant made the pitch and the whole idea sound reassuring. :-)

Famous Briefskate.com prototype

Famous Briefskate.com prototype

It was time to wrap up and go to South by South West (SxSW) interactive festival in Austin, Texas. Sadly for our West Coast team and other random people who joined our bus, we had the same driver that we had in the morning. We got lost a few times again, took the longest detours back to the hotel and around Austin airport and its military base. When somebody finally gave Google Maps to the drive, we arrived to the Austin Convention Center. This marked the final stop of the bus part of StartupBus 2013 adventure. Virtually all of us pledged not to ride any type of buses for at least a few months. :-)

GhostPost.io infront of the judges

GhostPost.io infront of the judges

Photos by Ruben Lemmens

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Azat Mardan
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