StartupBus Finals Celebrate Innovation, Creativity [Video]

At Rackspace, we’re always on the lookout for ways to trigger creativity and innovation, both in the workplace and with our Startup Program. Sometimes, cultivating inspiration requires bringing together some of the industry’s most talented techies and then giving them a tight deadline to come up with a plan.

This week, we did exactly that.

On Tuesday, we welcomed seven buses, each carrying 30 developers and designers to the Castle, our global headquarters, for the culmination of the annual StartupBus competition. Each of the 30-plus teams developed and designed a tech startup over the course of 72 hours while riding on a bus to San Antonio, starting from Mexico and different parts of the United States, including Seattle, Florida, New York and Nashville.

At Rackspace, the participants pitched their startup ideas to a panel of celebrity judges, including: Birchbox CTO Liz Crawford; Rackspace Startup Liaison Officer Robert Scoble; Michael Johnstone, CTO of Mark Cuban Companies; Cemre Gungor, founder of Branch; intellectual property expert and attorney Elizabeth McBride; Guy Kawasaki, former evangelist of Apple; and angel investor Alejandro Villanueva.

For some of the “buspreneurs,” the business ideas generated this week will lay the groundwork for companies they will continue to develop. Watch the video (shot and edited by Rackspace storyteller and videographer Dave Sims) to see how the startup competition stacked up and who took the crown:

Here are the teams that participated in yesterday’s final competition:

Nutfund: Nutfund offers “bounties for progress” by inspiring major corporations to support great causes. On Thursday, the San Francisco-based team pledged to donate more than $6,500 to charity:water to incentivize a Fortune 100 company to accept Bitcoin.

Bridgefy: The Mexico team developed an Android app designed to work without Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Bridgefy uses direct Wi-Fi technology to turn phones into two-way radios that will enable people in areas with little or no phone signal to communicate (such as in natural disaster zones or crowded festivals like SXSW).

On The List: The digital platform empowers entertainment fans by turning every concert and live music show into a unique and memorable experience through personalized support for brand sponsorship. This service sends encrypted webmail for free using your actual webmail service and your browser, which will keep all but the most dedicated hackers from intercepting and reading your private communications.

MiniMap: MiniMap is a super dynamic map interface inspired by video games that turns your calendar into a visual compass of your life. The app integrates with an ecosystem of calendars, Yelp and EventBrite to plot daily appointments for users.

Smart Host: Smart Host is a housing app that shows pricing trends for short-term rentals near users, including real-time data from rentals booked on marketplaces like Airbnb, HomeAway and gflats.

Beander: Beander is an online marketplace developed by the Seattle team. The app matches the specialty coffee beans from large importers with the micro-roasters and specialty coffee shops who need them.

It was a great week for innovation, and we at Rackspace were honored to host such an awesome and inspiring competition. We wish all of the startups that formed during StartupBus the best of luck as they venture to SXSW.

Check out our full lineup of Rackspace-related events at and around SXSW. And be sure to keep an eye on the Twitter hashtag #SXRackspace for on-the-ground tweets from SXSW.

Leezia Dhalla was the Speakers Bureau Program Manager at Rackspace until 2015, where she was responsible for coordinating external speaking engagements and developing corporate messaging for senior leadership, software developers and key subject matter experts. graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science.


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