My Experience at the StartupBus

Recently, I participated as you know at the StartupBus experience and has changed my way of thinking in several ways. Here you have a brief review of my experience:

DAY 0

The first day at this adventure was at Barcelona, the meet-up of all Buspreneurs from Spain was held in a NH hotel, were we get to know to each other. In this first day, we made some team building, i.e. Marshmallow Challenge to get to know all the participants better and start thinking on teams.

DAY 1

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The day started really early 7:00am and the alarm went off, it was the exciting moment of the beginning of the journey were everything was about to start. It was time to enter to the bus and start facing the challenges of creating a startup in 72hours while being on the road. Sounds crazy, right?

3,2,1…GO!  The first couple of hours we started pitching our own ideas where I presented a marketplace for 3D printing objects that would be one of the pioneers on the sector as it is a growing market. After listening to all ideas, we all started to know each of us more and getting to know each other more. In the next couple of ours I got my team and my idea was selected to be built while on the bus. My team was formed by Dani, a dev with more than 10 years experience; Adria, specialised in synergies between companies; Carlos, specialised in organising events; Jose, CEO of Planwatcher and specialised in affiliate marketing; and myself. This was my team and we all started working on the idea, but unfortunately after a couple of hours we decided that the goals of the team were not centred on the idea and using design thinking tools and the basis of another idea provided by Carlos we came with Ask For a Concert.

After loosing one morning, we started working hard on the project developing our idea but the time was running out and we needed to define our MVP (minimum viable product) as soon as possible in order to let the developers (Dani with the Backend and Jose with the frontend) work on it.  As a team we were really efficient and we set our goals really promptly and this let us start defining our startup soon.

In the evening we arrived to Nice were we were having our first pitches with our idea. StartupBus challenged us to the maximum and our first elevator pitch was inside a Sauna.  It was incredible how all the teams in our

bus worked on their ideas and for us it was an inflection point to redefine our product and work hard to obtain most of it, as our goal was being in the finals at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.

DAY 2

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After a long night working and just sleeping enough hours to rest (3hours) it was time to leave Nice and go back to the bus. The day started with several argues along our team and we even were about to leave our project and work on other teams. But, thanks to the support of our mentors and some inspiration we were able to focus on the product and create something that we all believed on it. Actually, Ask For a Concert started as a crowdsourcing platform to ask for concerts but we moved to a platform to enable festivals, clubs and concert organizers to know more about the tastes of their attendees. In this way, we defined all the strategy on how to attract users and how to offer added value to them and we started developing our MVP.

This day was really productive and we even started talking to future clients and partners to collaborate with us and unexpectedly we got many soon responses and replies.

In the evening we arrived to Mestre, 20kms away from Venice, and of course many surprises were waiting to us in Italy. In fact, we all were preparing our pitches and prototypes for the Semi-finals in Treviso the following day and we all were taken out of our “comfort zone” or better Startupbus comfort zone. We were challenged to be in less than one hour in Pizza San Marco to present our pitches in front of all Spanish buspreneurs that were going to be the most severe judges all over the trip. In fact, we arrived there really tired and almost with no energy it was time to face the pitches and the Q&A round. Luckily, our team member Jose managed to present an incredible pitch and we were selected to be the winning team.

After the pitch, we arrived to the hotel at 2:00am exhausted but we needed to finish our presentation and prototype for the semi-finals against the Italian bus.

DAY 3

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We all slept less than 3hours and some of the expedition members were facing terrible faces after a non-stop night working. After an hour, we were there in the semi-finals in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, the H-farm. This farm is an incredible Coworking centre with incredible facilities for entrepreneurs and all based in an ecological philosophy of working. After a couple of Redbulls and some hours working under pressure to ultimate the last things it was time to present.

The level of all the pitches was incredible and it was the first time for us to know buspreneurs for other countries and learn from their startups. It was noticeable the level of the Italian bus and one of their ideas was selected to go directly to the final at Pioneers HQ Festival.

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It was hard to heard for the first time some critics of your project from the jury but without lacking motivation we started working to get a place in the finals by working on our possibilities. We have the wildcard, three startups from all 6 countries would get the chance to go to the finals by being selected best ideas, the following day in Vienna and the roadtrip competition, were we needed to accomplish some goals and get fans with an exhaustive marketing campaign.

Half of the team focused on the roadtrip competition while the rest focus on the last chance with the presentation.

We arrived to Vienna late in the night and we still needed to work on the ideas to be the best ones. At 4am again was time to sleep and rest for the BIG DAY.

DAY 4

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In the morning, at 9am, it was the wildcard and all the 24 startups were selected randomly to present their business. 30 seconds to be pre-judged, if there were more thumbs down than up the team wasn’t able to continue presenting. It was really hard to see how your work could have been for nothing.  I can say proud, that  we were selected for the finals at the Pioneers festival, one of the most important entrepreneurial events in Europe. Unfortunately, we were not able to win but we were able to network and make many valuable contacts all over Europe for our new venture.

CONCLUSION AND KNOWLEDGE

This Startup competition has been a great experience for myself and has helped me overcoming limits that never expected to overcome (no WIFI, more than 1000km a day on a bus, working with people you never heard about…).  I recommend you all to join StartupBus in 2014 🙂

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Ask For a concert team after the final presentation at Pioneers HQ.

@assarasua

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