One of the more unorthodox hackathons out there, StartupBus, is returning for its second year. Two buses will be taking off on a 72 hour road trip on October 25, arriving in Sydney in time for the SydStart conference on October 29.
Six startups will depart on a bus from Melbourne, while another six will leave Sydney and travel to Byron Bay and then back to Sydney via Port Macquarie, all the while working to build a product from scratch and getting ready to pitch it to a crowded room at SydStart, after which at least one startup will receive funding. On the way, startups will receive advice from mentors on the buses and have the chance to meet business leaders at various pit stops.
The event was launched in 2010 by Australian Elias Bizannes, who told Startup Daily last year he came up with the idea at a Silicon Beach meet up. At the time, Bizannes was set to relocate to San Francisco, and thought it would be fun to get Aussies over to the US and go on a roadtrip to the SxSW Festival to build their networks; he told friends, as a joke, that they could launch a startup upon arrival, and the idea for StartupBus was born.
It took four years for StartupBus to then return to Australia, though Bizannes said the intention was always there, it was only a matter of time. In fact, he said, that was the reason why last year’s bus departed from Sydney and returned to Sydney, playing on the fact that the StartupBus concept was coming full circle.
StartupBus has since grown to a community of over 1,300 entrepreneurs with hackathons held across the US, Europe, Africa, and Australia, and its alumni include the founders of Instacart, now valued at over $2 billion, Branch, which was acquired by Facebook for $15 million, and Lisnr, which recently closed a $3.5 million funding round.
The winner of the inaugural Australian event last year was People of the Sun, a startup which allowed people to invest in ‘community funded solar power stations’ – solar panels installed on the roofs of schools, warehouses, and shopping centres, with the revenue generated returned to investors.
Other teams included Spexy, which wanted to help people design and 3D print new glasses, and FailPage, which aimed to increase conversion rates from 404 error pages.
The organisers – or conductors – behind this year’s event are Ricardo Buccianti, founder of OzPoint Technologies, and Imteaz Ahamed, ecommerce manager at RB Australia.
Applications for StartupBus are open here.