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Business Observer Monday, Mar. 4, 2013 9 years ago

StartupBus Day 1: The Race Begins

With her team of four, the author's task is to create a business in less than 72 hours as she rides from Tampa to Austin, Texas.
by: Lindsey Nickel-de Staff Writer

With her team of four, the author's task is to create a business in less than 72 hours as she rides from Tampa to Austin, Texas.

It takes a certain kind of crazy to join 20 strangers from across Florida and travel by bus to Austin,Texas. But on a recent morning, that's where I found myself and my team as we started our journey with a send off from Tampa Bay Times Forum that included Red Bull promotion girls (suited up in jet-pack cooler backpacks no less) and the Tampa Bay Lightning's mascot.

Our task: Listen to individuals ideas, choose the one we like best and create a startup company in less than 72 hours with five or fewer people.

Our competition: four other teams on the bus, plus 138 people traveling on their buses from other areas across the country. May the odds be ever in your favor.

The only advantage: gumption, a little luck and the belief that your idea is the one that impresses the panel of judges and investors.

Our first round of pitches was midnight Sunday in Atlanta, where we had holes punched into our ideas with the hope that we improve and advance to see another round.

My team consists of Travis Miller from SPARK, who is our resident hacker; Austin Allbritton, a freelance videographer who has a brain for strategy and sits as our resident hipster. Sheena Koshy joined us in Jacksonville as our social media marketer and online hustler. I am assisting with what I know best, content curation, creative direction and audience strategy - hopefully spurring our idea to the finish line.

The StartupBus has also provided us with an Elance team ready to work with us, but so far our first 10 hours have been about laying out the application, user experience, investment models, conducting market research and basic design guidelines. Talk about creative, being short a designer was a disadvantage, but Ringling College senior and Nickel Communications intern Louie Zuniga came to the rescue, taking a couple of hours out of his Sunday to create logos and a design guide book for what we believe will be one of the best apps to emerge on the market.

So what's next? After we arrive in Atlanta, we will start shooting our product brand video, survey potential users and have a 10 p.m. conference call with a national buyer in California who will be helping us with revenue projections.

And I thought building a company in six months was ambitious:) Many thanks to everyone who made the StartupBus possible for me to be on the bus, including my sponsor, the Economic Development Investment Fund, whose small business incubator program is changing the business landscape for entrepreneurs, and the Business Observer.

Sleep is for the weak!

For real time updates follow me on Twitter @awesomeprenuer and on

Follow Lindsey's journey via Instagram @lindseydelao

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