By: Mark Gojszyk

AN AUSTRALIAN’S UNIQUE ‘brainstorming on a bus’ competition kicks off again this April 27 – May 1, 2018, and a slew of clever and innovative business ideas are expected out of it, as competitors travel across America against the clock.

Team Daisy on @StartupBusNYC 2017 at work while travelling from Washington D.C. through Virginia on their first day.

StartupBus, an Aussie-bred concept that creates a community of ‘buspreneurs’, continues to rack up miles after first hitting the road in the USA in 2010, with the 2018 edition just a month away and participants entering from all over the world.

The 2018 competition’s routes include: Silicon Valley, San Diego, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Texas, St. Louis, Detroit, Ohio, Florida, and New York.

Australian entrepreneur Elias Bizannes co-founded StartupBus, which is described as "equal parts hackathon, road trip and global community … challenging top-tier talent to hop on a bus and conceive, build and launch a start-up in 72 hours."

StartupBus claims that entrepreneurship can’t be taught, but rather learned through unique experiences. Certainly, a tech ‘boot camp’ on a bus is far removed from the office spaces where business ideas usually come to life – but that all just adds to the thrill and complexity of such a unique competition.

The first bus launch consisted of 25 strangers on the way to the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas. Six start-ups were born on that occasion. Since then the road trip has spanned North America, Europe, Africa and the Pacific – the latter traversed Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney in 2014/15.

Buspreneurs boast skillsets that include development (front end, back end, data science), design (product, UX, visual design) and ‘hustle’(sales, finance, marketing, research).


"Companies formed by our [1800+] alumni have raised altogether US$1 billion in funding, while improving the lives of millions of their users," according to StartupBus. "Not everyone can join the community - every single member has been carefully vetted and interviewed by each of our conductors."

If want to follow the action online you can do that at, where you can get all the latest competition updates, but to actually enter you’ll need a special invitation code – because they don’t just let anyone onto these great, modern coaches. Tweet to @TheStartupBus to get one – but hurry as the deadline to enter is approaching fast.

The coaches will reach New Orleans during New Orleans Jazz Fest and Collision Conference where judges will decide the winner.

Previous winners include:

•             Daisy (North America, 2017) – Simplifies funeral planning by guiding users through each step of the funeral process via a web app

•             Trustful (Europe, 2016) – A concept digitising the ballot system by using NFC and ‘blockchain’ technology for secure electronic voting (rather than paper)

•             People of the Sun (Australia, 2014) – Enabling community-funded investments and installations of solar panels on the roofs of factories, schools, warehouses and shopping centres.

No details have emerged regarding the possibility of another Southern Hemisphere voyage in future, but Australasian Bus & Coach magazine will be keeping tabs on any upcoming announcements.


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