Growth

First stop Australia, next stop the Pacific for the StartupBus

Kye White /

StartupBus Pacific’s event may be over, but founder Elias Bizannes says it’s just the first stop on the way to a more ambitious destination.

 

The teams of entrepreneurs hopped on the bus with not much more than ideas and hopped off three days later ready to pitch fledgling startups to judges at SydStart.

 

“We’ve never had so many mentors on the bus that have had such deep experience, so we pretty much kicked their arses a lot more than any other of the buses,” Bizannes says with a laugh.

 

The winner of the StartupBus pitching competition was Allen Haroutonian, Jamie Madden and Simeon King’s People of the Sun, a startup which allows people to invest in solar panels and have them installed on the roofs of factories, schools and shopping centres. The revenue generated by the solar panels goes back to investors.

 

Incredibly the team had raised $20,000 in just four days.

 

“What’s brilliant about it is the business model, normally we shy away from those sorts of things because we want them to build real products,” Bizannes says.

 

The startups hopping off the bus at the end of the journey were diverse. Dinner Companion was an app that links business people with people looking for company over dinner. “What about Tinder,” one of the judges quipped during the Dinner Companion team’s pitch.

 

Other startups included Spexy.me which allows users to design, 3D print and order their own 3D glasses; Endress.me helps fashion challenged individuals to purchase clothes with the help of their friends; and finally FailPage which turns 404 error web pages into the highest converting page of your website.

 

Bizannes intent is for StartupBus Pacific to becoming a national event that showcases the Pacific region’s best tech talent throughout its many startup hubs.

 

“This bus is very much seeding a much larger vision here, we’d like to have a multi-bus competition,” he says.

 

“The reason we’re calling it StartupBus Pacific is because one day I’d love to see Indonesia, Singapore, Melbourne University, Perth, New Zealand, all travelling in a Pacific competition that showcases tech talent across the whole region and then we all descend onto a big event space, whether it’s SydStart or the Opera House.

 

“What we’re trying to do is build a community. We use this term called tribes, and a bus is like a tribe. So we really tap into that very nationalistic insular view of people identifying themselves as something, but we try and tie them into more of a global vision.”

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Kye White

Kye began his career at a Fairfax daily on the North-West Coast of Tasmania. He has since taken his belongings, and keen interest in technology, to Melbourne. He has a bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from RMIT University.

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