Final Stop For The 2014 StartUpBusUK

Final Stop For The 2014 StartUpBusUK

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Final Stop For The 2014 StartUpBusUK @BloombergLP
Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 9:00am


Jakub Misiorny is a Software Developer for Bloomberg R&D, London and one of two Bloomberg mentors who advised the StartupBusUK teams on their journey to Vienna. He shared a blog post at the mid-way point, and now that the journey is over, here is a post about how it ended.

Vienna airport: Every day for the past week we refrained from sleeping and consumed massive amounts of caffeine, pizza and redbull to keep the ideas, code and business plans flowing.

We have traveled more than 2000km in two amazing coaches from London, through Manchester, Brussels, Amesterdam and Berlin to finally arrive in Vienna. Each city was an implicit milestone. “We need to check off ‘Create Business Model Canvas’ and ‘Write a press release’ before we reach Amsterdam.”

Along the way we have listened to:
- Anne-Wil Lucas – Member of the Dutch Parliment – talk about “Dutch Startup Culture.” The government is taking proactive actions to support startups through removing legal roadblocks and providing funding incentives.

- Giuseppe Passino – Bloomberg R&D – who took us on a metaphorical journey of joining a startup within a “mature startup.” His story was one of many illustrating the fantastic startup culture in Bloomberg’s R&D department where developers can try new, crazy things with the support of a large, established firm. The project he is working on right now started only a year and a half ago as an idea to revolutionise how information flows through orders system. And, now it’s one of the most important new projects in Bloomberg’s R&D office in London. He emphasized the importance of “starting with the end in mind,” “being bold,” and “knowing your customer” – all of which are core Bloomberg Values.

- Geert van Vlijmen – Pitch Canvas – who took us on journey of working on a “perfect pitch.” The experience was a lot deeper and revealing than advertised. As we have been discovering on a bus, the pitch is just a tip of an iceberg and as you try to shape the business, some key components may change and questions arise. For example, “Who are my customers?” “What are they gaining from my product?” “What’s my tagline?” “What is REALLY our mission?” “How will we make money?” Try answering all of those questions in 180 seconds! You need to be focused.

It took us 8 hours to arrive in the German capital – “Alright StartupBus, you will only go to sleep after you pitch!” shouts Alejandro Saucedo, one of the organizers of the UK StartupBus, while we disembark in the foot of Berlin’s symbolic TV tower.

Finally after midnight, everyone got some rest with the exception of a small special-project group who went out to shoot “extreme programming” footage. After arriving in Vienna – again under the cover of the night – everyone worked instead of going to sleep. Pitches and soothing keystrokes of last bugs being fixed were heard loud and clear. At 3am everyone tucked in – “Tomorrow is the big day. Remember, you have arrived with nothing, the worst thing that will happen is… you’re going to leave with a lot of knowledge, a lot of new friends and a crazy experience.”

All of the ideas have changed many, many times since we left Manchester, and I was very excited to see them flourish. All of them seem like viable businesses. The finals went smoothly, and the organizers made us wait for the results till late night in one of the Vienna’s underground bars.

The results of the journey? Friendships for life. Ideas for improbable businesses and insane team-building events – Paintball capture-the-flag croseed with a hackathon, anyone? Experience collaborating in extreme environment, under a very strict deadline.

And the trophies went to…

“Zumo” (a realtime video conference “as a service” from the Greek Bus), “Never Eat Alone” (connecting employees over lunch), “One Pink Elephant” (helping people learn Mandarin Characters using Mind Palace technique).