On the sixth day six after departing from San Francisco, buspreneurs gathered to socialize and to let steam off at a happy hour organized by Twillio. GhostPost brought a projector to the bar to show their anonymous live chat. The funny story is that the projector was sold to them by of a fellow busmate (from the Grassroots.io team) whose Austin-based friend the Grassroots guy to handle the Craigslist projector ad. :-) Apparently the GhostPost team weren’t happy with their defeat (and who would be?) and hustled their way through the competition to become an All-Star wildcard — and by the evening they were indeed selected as a wildcard!
Rackspace bought out the Champions sports bar in downtown Austin. GhostPost and other teams pitched during the evening to Dave McCure, Robert Scobler, and other important startup personas. The sound quality wasn’t very good. Every now and then somebody would shush the drunk, happy and tired crowd, but that didn’t help much. Despite it being very entertaining to watch Dave McClure rip apart startups and Robert (because he saw the evolution during the span of 3 days) explain and sometime defend them — in the end the decision was the same. They announced that the winner was CareerMob, and the runner up was NextChaptr.
Summary of StartupBus 2013
Overall StartupBus is a great experience but I can’t say that it has changed my life. :-) There are similarities to a real startup life:
- Scarcity of resources, balance of risks and trade-offs, ample creativity to solve problems
- Building, motivating and selling the concept to your team while pitching your idea to judges
- Human drama: communication issues, interactions among team members in close quarters, under stress, without enough sleep, etc.
- Startup lifestyle: exhaustion, abundance of stress
But some things are far from the reality. Mainly, in an actual startup:
- Founders can focus not only on consumer segment, but also on small business and/or enterprise customers. Obviously, due to the lack of time and resource constraints buspreneurs targeted consumer audience.
- Team needs to be serious and to pick not just fun and sexy ideas to get the most buzz. Solid business models usually come from ugly and boring, though concrete and painful problems.
- These days, anyone who wants to start up a business has full-time reliable and even speedy Internet access without having to get stranded in the middle of a desert or having your mobile hot-spot picking up Mexican cell phone carriers. :-)
My conclusion is that a StartupBus trip was a good experience, but it’s not exactly the same as building a real startup.