StartupBus Chicago Scheduled for Minnesota Pit Stop en Route to SxSW

StartupBusWhat began last year as a half-baked joke about hosting a startup bootcamp on a 48 hour bus ride from San Francisco to Austin for the SxSW festival has evolved into a growing phenomena.

Seven of last years 25 ‘buspreneurs’ volunteered to bring the experiment to the next level this time around, expanding from one bus to six and adding more pit stops along the way — including one in the Twin Cities.

On Tuesday morning, March 8th, the six touring buses depart from New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Miami and Silicon Valley (2) for the cross-country trek. Loaded to the gills with geeks, the objective is to form teams and develop products under pressure in competition against the other buses.   It’s like StartupWeekend on wheels — culminating in mixer, a best in class selection process, and ultimately, investor pitches on Monday the 14th.

The StartupBus from Chicago will be taking an intentional Minnesota detour, rolling into town that Tuesday night around 5pm to network and hack with local tech entrepreneurs throughout the evening. The timing conveniently dovetails with a regular tech meetup at CoCo MSP in St.Paul, where the gathering will be hosted.

“It seems crazy to try and build companies on the road…but the real goal is to connect entrepreneurs in an immersive experience, learn and have fun,” says Karolis Karalevicius, organizer of StartupBus Chicago. “Seeing what comes out of it is always a surprise,” he says, pointing to two companies that were byproducts of last years excursion — Opzi and Wearoscope.

One Minnesota graphic designer named Andy Erikson will be hitching a ride on the Chicago StartupBus. “People who are motivated and driven to create a startup company emit passion — a passion that is infectious and powerful. StartupBus sounds like such an epic collaboration I had to get on board,” she exclaims.