StartupBus Final Day – Winners Judged by Tech Evangelist Royalty

The 4th out of 4 posts about my StartupBus 2014 experience.

After 4 crazy intense days and experiences we finally made it to the final day of our StartupBus journey. Everyone could tell that the pressure was on. While the finalists tried to make the most of every second before the final pitches began, everyone else listened to couple of educational speeches from people well known in the tech community.

The first speaker was Robert Scoble, the Startup Liason from Rackspace. He is well known for his blog, Scobleizer, and discovers and reports on cutting edge technology. The second speaker was Guy Kawasaki. Guy was one of the first evangelists for Apple in the 1980s. He is known for writing multiple books and giving charismatic and educational speeches to the startup community. In 2013 he became an advisor for Motorola at Google. Both gentlemen were part of the panel for the final judging. What a honor! The other talented judges were…

Liz Crawford- CTO at Birchbox
Cemre Gungor – Design founder of Branch which was acquired by Facebook in 2013
Elizabeth McBride – Managing Associate in Orrick’s Silicon Valley office
Alejandro Villanueva – Leads POSiBLE which supports entrepreneurs in Latin America
Michael Johnstone – Works with Mark Cuban Companies and advices companies on marketing strategy, technology, and operations.

All extremely talented people with many years of experience in the startup community.

My team was scrambling to make sure we had a sound business plan. What was the best way to sell our product? There were 3 different plans that we were considering.

  1. The initial download for the app to be free and then have in app purchases available to add more features.
  2. Charge $1- $2 per download and still have in app purchases available.
  3. The initial download to be free and then if small businesses want to use the app for routing at work they would pay for a “white label” version of the app. This would be controlled by limiting the amount of events you can have on one day. If you had more than the maximum amount you would pay a subscription fee.

We opted for option 2 and decided we would charge $1.99 for the initial download of the app. We felt that the app can add a lot of efficiency to a person’s day plus it has a beautiful interface. It’s not just another map but will change the way you view your calendar and day.

Before we knew it, they were rounding up the finalist and the pitches began. Here are the 7 finalists.

1. Beander

@Beander_
– An online marketplace for micro-roasters to have access to a larger selections of coffee.

2. Smart Host

@SmartHostMe
– Helps Airbnb hosts to optimize the pricing of their rentals based on market analysis.

3. Bridgefy

@bridgefy
– A service to send texts through Bluetooth when cellphone service is not available.

4. MiniMap

@MiniMapApp
– View your calendar on a map.

5. On The List

http://www.facebook.com/onthelistapp
– Partners with sponsors and artists to create a unique concert experience for the fans.

6. Trust Mail

@Trustmail_io
– A service to encrypt you emails at the click of a button.

7. Nut Fund

@TheNutFund
– A site raising money to convince companies to accept bitcoin by donating money to good causes.

People on social media were starting to understand what our app was trying to do.

All of the teams pitched extremely well. It was the amazing to watch how the pitches evolved from the first pitch to the final pitch.

AND THE WINNER IS…….

Winner: Smart Host

Runner-up: Bridgefy

In the end, MiniMap did not win but it was a privilege to even be part of the final round. The competition is not actually about winning but learning and growing as an entrepreneur and person. Keep an eye out on the app store for MiniMap’s official release in the future!