A Winner Is Crowned: The Exciting Conclusion of the StartupBus Entrepreneurial Competition and a Look at the Top 7 Ideas

Last week we wrote about the 2014 StartupBus competition, a 3-day journey where entrepreneurs around the US and Mexico boarded buses, formed teams, and hurried to create a start-up business in just 3 days. The buses reached Texas on March 4, and on March 6th a winner was finally crowned.

There were actually three judging rounds to get through. Bus conductors judged the first round on the morning of March 5 and chose 12-14 teams to move on. The semi-finals took place later that day, where only 7 teams made it through to the finals.

Making it through to the final round were the following teams:

Beander – This team from the North bus created an online marketplace for micro-roasters and small specialty coffee shops to get the specialty green coffee beans they want. It allows these smaller businesses access to the best raw coffee beans on the market.

Bridgefy – This team from the Mexico bus proposed an Android app that would allow people to communicate when Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are down. In essence, it turns your phone into a two-way radio to be used when there are no phone signals, such as during disasters.

MiniMap – This team from the Northeast bus was inspired by video games to turn your to-do calendar into a visual compass. It plots your appointments, integrates with calendar apps, and helps you to navigate through the day and through your life.

Nutfund – This team from the West Coast bus proposed a system that would inspire major brands and Fortune 100 companies to take positive action. A given action is proposed, people who want to see that action happen then donate money, and once the action is taken the money is released to a chosen charity.

On The List – This team from the South bus designed a digital platform to bring your entertainment needs to the next level. Instead of just attending an event, they take the event and turn it into a real experience, with special perks and promotions from cool brands.

Smart Host – This team from the Northeast bus created an app to keep you up to date on the going rate of short-term rentals. You’ll see price trends and rental listings for your area, and get real-time data from online rental marketplace bookings.

Trustmail.io – This team from the Mexico bus was motivated to create a safe system for emails where hackers cannot get in. It is an encrypted mail service that works with your webmail and your browser to keep even the best hackers from getting into your private communications.

The final judging round took place at 2pm on March 6th. Judges included Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble, Liz Crawford, Cemre Gungor, Elizabeth McBrdide, Alejandro Villanueva and Michael Johnstone. Teams were judged by their execution, business and pitch.

In the end, Bridgefy took second place, and Smart Host went home with the gold!

Congratulations to Smart Host, and to all the ‘buspreneurs’ who competed in the StartupBus competition. Use the links above to explore the finalist websites and ideas – then come back here and let us know who YOU would have chosen for first place.

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Jennifer Peaslee

Jennifer has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently working as a freelance writer, editor, blogger and researcher.

3 thoughts on “A Winner Is Crowned: The Exciting Conclusion of the StartupBus Entrepreneurial Competition and a Look at the Top 7 Ideas

    • Jennifer Peaslee

      Well the StartupBus judges had to judge not only on how good the idea was – but also how the teams executed that idea, pitched it, etc…so I guess when everything was taken together, they thought Smart Host did the best job. However, I totally agree – Bridgefy has an awesome idea that could definitely save lives! Let’s hope they continue to work on it, and get the app up and running some time soon. :)

      Reply

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