What to Expect: Get Ready for StartupBus Chicago!

by: Crystal Shuller

Is your dream to build a business? Do you have a competitive side? Think you can pitch your way to the top? Or, maybe you’re just interested in impressing your peer developers or designers? Imagine you and a team of strangers conceiving, building, and launching a startup over 3 days, on a bus traveling 60 MPH. Building an app usually takes weeks in a development studio. However, teams on the StartupBus have less than 72 hours, with every second counting down to the wire.

It is an absolutely crazy experience, but if you think you just might be up for the challenge, have an incredible experience, and represent the startup community in Chicago, here is what to expect for StartupBus Chicago.

Anyone interested can apply to be on the bus, however only 25 of the best will be selected. Each year, once the group is chosen, the event is kicked off by a simultaneous nationwide launch party held in each competing city. Chicago’s will be held on March 2nd at 1871 (details to come). The bus will then depart on March 3rd. When the buses depart, all participants (buspreneurs) will introduce themselves and pitch their ideas. Anyone can pitch any idea, however, no physical work other than research can be done prior. From there, teams organically form and begin building their businesses.

The buses zig and zag through entrepreneurial points of interest en route to Austin. Previous years have included stops at: SproutBox, Kaufman, and many other Accelerators, co-working spaces, and VC’s headquarters. At the end of each long day, the buses pull into a hotel where buspreneurs can relax and get some much needed sleep (or more often than not, work into the night). You can’t deny that working with strangers on a bus will teach you how to be a better team player.

On the way to Austin, there will be many surprise challenges to help prepare. Past buspreneurs have pitched on live television and even welcomed guest tech celebrities on the bus to review and critique progress. Those interested in being on this year’s bus must remember to smile for the camera; every year some of the worlds top media outlets (Time, NY Times, FastCompany, WIRED, HuffingtonPost, and more) have put journalists and videographers on the a bus to document and broadcast the whole event.

Although the route for this year is still being determined, one stop is secured. Like last year, the bus will park for a day in San Antonio where each team will get one-on-one mentoring from StartupBus judges. In the past, judges have included: Robert Scoble, Dave Mclure, and Guy Kawasaki, just to name a few.

If you like March Madness, you’ll love StartupBus. Once in Austin, the teams compete in a bracket style competition (three rounds) where ultimately one team, representing one city, will be declared a winner.

Some people may start the company they pitch. Some people may get a new job or represent, with honor, the company they work for now. A few things are guaranteed: you will connect with and discover talented people while getting lessons out of an experience that will impact the rest of your life.

Check out this video to see StartupBus in action.

About the author Crystal Shuller @Technori
Crystal is a recent transplant from Florida, where she spent over six years in marketing and events in the corporate and tech world. She loves making people happy and creating amazing experiences whether large or small. When she isn’t hustling to make Technori events happen, she can be found painting, crafting, and enjoying the music and film scene in Chicago.

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