StartupBus Builds Tech Companies in 72 Hours

If you think it’s impossible to build and launch a technology company in just 72 hours, you’d be wrong.

Young entrepreneurs from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico set out earlier this week on buses bound for San Antonio, Texas where they’ll pitch their new business plans to judges and potential investors.

The StartupBus—founded in 2010—brings together promising entrepreneurs, coops them up on a bus for three days and tasks them with building a business from the ground up – all while traveling 70 mph down the highway.

Competitors from New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Nashville, Kansas City, Florida, Canada, and Mexico must form teams on their buses and turn ideas into actionable items.

The “buspreneurs” are mostly techies – software engineers and web designers, with a few marketers thrown in for good measure. The buses stop in cities along the way so competitors can meet up with mentors and advisors, as well as interview locals, in order to help refine business ideas.

Teams—which are made up of three to seven individuals—are set milestones to achieve before their bus stops in San Antonio. Teams should have a logo for their company, a website, beta users, an equity agreement, and a ready-to-go three-minute pitch.

But it’s not just about the people on the bus. StartupBus also aims to enlist the help of a wider online community to get the word out. Online “fantasy investors” are encourages to “invest” in their favorite teams by tweeting and driving traffic to that team’s website.

So far on the trip, the ideas getting the most attention are MiniMap, a map that turns your calendar and friends into a visual representation of your life – think video game, but with people and places you know; Traveloo, which lets you collaborate with friends while planning group trips; and Sallie Will, a peer-to-peer exchange for investing in high achieving individuals by incrementally refinancing their student loan.

StartupBus will arrive in San Antonio on Wednesday, just ahead of the South by Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSW) in Austin next weekend.

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