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StartupBus Revs Into Rackspace On Way To SXSW; Finalists Chosen [Video] – UPDATED

EDITOR’S NOTE: The StartupBus finalists have been selected. They are: Nutfund, Bridgefy, On The List, TrustMail, MiniMap, Smart Host and Beander. The finalists present their pitches starting at 2 p.m. CST today (Thursday, March 6). Tune in live here.

StartupBus revved to Rackspace headquarters this morning in the name of innovation. This year, seven buses carrying 30 entrepreneurs (buspreneurs, if you will) each participated in the North America StartupBus event.

On each bus, teams had 72 hours to design, build and launch applications while traveling 60 miles per hour. The three-day trek reached the Rackspace Castle this morning.

This year, the buses originated from all over North America: Canada/Seattle, Silicon Valley, Florida/Southeast, New York/Northeast, Kansas City/Midwest, Nashville/South and Mexico City. At the Castle, the startup teams refined their apps and pitched their creations to a panel of judges.

According to Mitch Neff, StartupBus Global Director, many of the startups crafted on the bus go on to become actual companies, but the event isn’t just about the products the startups build, it’s about the communities that form and the talent that develops.

Today, the pool of more than 30 startups was narrowed down to 16 semi-finalists. The sweet 16 are:

  • Beander, which simplifies specialty bean purchasing for micro-roasters by giving them access to a wide variety of beans through an online marketplace.
  • BelleLush, a makeup discovery app that lets you find and share the latest looks and purchase products instantly.
  • Bridgefy, a mobile messaging app that lets people communicate when phone service and Wi-Fi aren’t available.
  • Collecto, an affordable online service to send remittances from the US to Mexico in a secure, reliable and agile environment.
  • CropRate Wellness, a platform that provides corporate wellness programs an on-campus farmer’s market.
  • MiniMap, an interactive map inspired by video games that turns your calendar into a visual compass for your daily life.
  • Nutfund offers bounties for progress by inspiring brands to take action while supporting great causes.
  • On The List, a platform that empowers music fans by turning every concert into a unique and memorable experience through personalized support for brand sponsorship.
  • Plumer, which offers an A/B testing tool for your dating profile, so you can show your best self.
  • Roll, an app that offers airline employees and their families secure access to real time flight availability to make standby simple.
  • RV Envy, which offers RV rentals for music festivals.
  • Sallie Will.com, a peer-to-peer exchange for investing in high achieving individuals by incrementally refinancing their student loans.
  • Smart Host, a price expert for short-term rentals.
  • TasteBuddy, the food you love recommended by people like you.
  • TicketSlip, a hassle-free way to save for concerts and live events by making small payments prior to ticket sales.
  • Trustmail.io, a service that sends encrypted webmail for free using your actual webmail service and your browser.

This evening, the finalists will be selected. And tomorrow, those finalists will make their pitches and a winner will be selected.

Once the winner is selected, the StartupBus entrepreneurs will head north to Austin for SXSW.

StartupBus TV is live-streaming the event. Tune in to see the competition live. The finals run Thursday, March 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. CST.

Check out our full lineup of Rackspace-related events at and around SXSW. And be sure to keep an eye on the Twitter hashtag #SXRackspace for on-the-ground tweets from SXSW.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Andrew Hickey.

Andrew Hickey is chief blog editor at Rackspace, a role in which he helps Rackers, customers and partners tell their stories. Andrew comes to Rackspace following many years as a journalist, more than half of which were spent covering high tech and Rackspace. When not writing, Andrew enjoys spending time with his wife and his dog, and spinning punk rock vinyl. If you have an idea for the Rackspace Blog, track down Andrew at andrew.hickey@rackspace.com.


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