SXSW (that’s South by Southwest), the mega show for creative types in the interactive, film and music industries, has been around for nearly two decades. Weekend startup camps have been popular exercises for entrepreneurs since the mid-‘00s. While offering a startup camp at SXSW may not be a new idea, putting a startup camp on a bus bound for SXSW next Tuesday surely is. Australian Elias Bizannes is the man behind the Startup Bus, an innovative way to create new ideas in a confined space in 48 hours and deliver the innovators from San Francisco to Austin just in time for the kickoff of SXSW 2010.
We first met Elias in Sydney early last year after discovering his Google Group Silicon Beach. ANZA TechNet is always looking for young and dynamic Aussie entrepreneurs – and Elias put many of them all in one place – Friday night drinks at the Grace Hotel. Silicon Beach now has nearly 800 members affiliated with the Aussie startup community who use the group for information exchange, advice and networking. The Friday night drinks are still going strong, but without Elias – who has relocated to the US.
Changing continents and keeping your dream to help build sexy startups alive may be daunting for some, but not Elias. For his first SXSW while living on American soil, he has recruited 12 techie strangers, rented a bus, invited key industry experts and bloggers to ride along and nailed down sponsorship, including Atlassian who are “powering the bus” and eStrategy who are “mentoring” it.
The Startup strangers will divide themselves into groups to conceive, build and launch three startups in just two days. They’ll present their startups on arrival in Austin to a group of investors and Silicon Valley influencers in true SXSW fashion – at a party on March 12.
Will these startups fly? Watch this space. Do you want a piece of the action? We’ve heard that interest in the project has been “overwhelming” and a seat or two may open up for the right entrepreneur. You can also still get your name attached to the project in the form of sponsorship (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details).
If you’re going to SXSW and need to know where the bus will park and when the party will start or just want to follow the bus on its 2-day tour, follow Elias and the Startup Bus on Twitter.