CareerMob Wins StartupBus 2013 Finals at Rackspace
The five-person team from New York and Washington won on its pitch for a site to help returning veterans find jobs by hooking them up with mentors in a variety of career fields.
“This team has been amazing,” said Tatiana Bakaera, one of the team leaders.
The members of CareerMob were all strangers. They met on the bus 72 hours ago and formed a company, built a website and put together presentation and marketing materials on the road.
“We’ve been going 72 hours on the bus without any stops except for sleep,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Siefried. “The most important thing our site does is it connects you with a mentor.’’
Already, dozens of people have signed up to volunteer as mentors to help veterans transitioning away from military service and into civilian jobs, Siefried said.
CareerMob fills a real need and solves a problem in the marketplace, said Robert Scoble, one of the event’s six judges. He announced the winners of the event at Rackspace’s headquarters in San Antonio.
All six buses arrived at Rackspace on Wednesday and pitched to a panel of judges that night. Those judges narrowed the finalists down to seven teams. Those teams included CareerMob, Grassroots.io, Ghostpost.io, Cloudspotting, USupply.me, Exversion and Nextchaptr.
Overall, six buses set out on March 3rd with 152 people to form dozens of companies. One of the buses travelled from Mexico City, Mexico. The buses departed Rackspace Thursday afternoon for Austin where they will pitch at the All Stars Finals Friday night at Rackspace’s Open Cloud Experience at Champion’s Bar.
The judges named Nextchaptr, a crowdsource book publishing site, as runner up. The five-member team came from Chicago, Columbus and Cleveland and rode on the Midwestern StartupBus.
“The Kickstarter model for books makes a lot of sense to me,” Scoble said.
The experience was a great one, said Zack Price with Nextchaptr.
“It’s fun to test an idea and bounce it off brilliant people who are like minded entrepreneurs,” Price said.
The team plans to continue to develop the company, said Greg Sostario with Nextchaptr.
“We have people interested in it,” he said “This meets a need in the marketplace.”
This year, StartupBus scaled back the event, said Elias Bizannes, StartupBus founder. Last year, StartupBus had the largest event in its history with more than 300 people participating. This year, they chose to scale back.
“We wanted to create a quality experience,” Bizannes said.
Despite the premise of creating a company in three days, StartupBus really isn’t focused on creating startups, Bizannes said.
“It connect you to people,” he said “Those connections create life changing experiences.”
While some of the teams choose to go on and pursue their ideas, others move on to new ventures.
This year, StartupBus had an Alumni bus with people who had participated in the process before, Bizannes said. Two of those teams, Yank, a personal guardian app, and RepCheck are going on to compete in the Startup Bus All Star Finals tomorrow night. Two more teams that get the most online traction will also go on to compete in the finals. Altogether six StartupBus teams will vie for the All Star Final title Friday night.
“The entire experience is trying to teach people to adapt,” said Mike Caprio, a community leader for StartupBus from New York.
“The goal of StartupBus is not to create companies,” he said. “It’s to empower people to change the world and disrupt the status quo.”