One of the first things I heard over coffee at BL:NK event space (just off Old Street in London’s “Tech City”) was “Well it’s a little bit nuts isn’t it?”.

 

StartupBus- Day 1

I mean who would try and go from zero to minimum viable product in 4 days (with change) whilst travelling from London to Vienna by bus? About 40 ‘Buspreneurs’, it turns out showed up for Startup Bus. Startup Bus, considered one of the most challenging hackathons in the world, is an annual event where coders race to build new innovative products over the course of a several day bus ride.

By 11 am on the first day, the crowd was fairly excitable and rowdy, all greeted and kept in check by Alejandro, River and Kosta, a good chunk of the Startup Bus team.

Once settled, the Buspreneurs were teeming with ideas, trying to make connections with others that could not only survive the maelstrom of pizza, coffee and probably Red Bull, but also ship a product and present it in a shorter time than it usually takes to sketch out an idea.

Travelling with my Mailjet ‘wings’, I was there to help and mentor as many people as possible on their epic journey – no team for me this time. Although I love hacking things together, the chance to spend time with all of the Buspreneurs and see the enthusiasm: lows, highs and successes was definitely enough to keep me buzzing.

After a lot of food, coffee, whooping and cheers, we were on the bus, off to SpacePortX, one of THE tech hubs and co-working spaces of the North of England, in Manchester. With traffic, we arrived a little late, but hey, it’s not like there was going to be much sleep involved anyway was there?

SpacePortX gave us a fantastic and uplifting welcome from Doug Ward despite the fact he was ‘absolutely hanging’ (translation: really quite ill). Pizza and pitching ideas followed, with everyone looking forward to forming teams at a very early hour the next day.

StartupBus- Day 1 2
By the next morning (or a few hours later, in reality) pitches were solidified and people hustled together teams, with ideas ranging from motivational platforms for people who miss personal targets (not me, honest) to a memory training app, which had the distinction of being the only pitch I’ve heard where everyone had to close their eyes and visualise a pink elephant…

We’ve been on the road since 7:45am and it’s already well underway, code flying out and even the guy in the plastic viking hat looks seriously productive. Soon we’ll be at the port in Folkestone and we’ll leave England for Brussels (sorry France). We all know the Bus quite well!
We’ll all be tweeting about #SBUK2014 as much as is healthy and you can throw questions at @4thfloor_monkey (that’s me!) or @StartupBusUK.