Equal parts boot camp and road trip, StartupBus is an annual competition designed to empower the tech community - challenging top tier talent to hop on a bus and conceive, build and launch a startup in just 5 days.
Summer of 2019 I competed in StartupBus, and boy howdy was it a journey. To give some background - individuals on the bus (or busentrepeanurs, as we call ourselves) travel across the United States for 5 days. During that time you are working to build a real product that we intend to sell to the public.You have to build an actual MVP, pitch to actual venture capitalists, and build out your company infrastructure all within five days.
I joined a team with two amazing individuals, Anu Jayasinghe and Nate Reicher and together we were working to create a project that we called GreenShip.
The idea behind GreenShip is super simple. GreenShip empowers you to know the environmental cost of your shipping actions. It’s like looking at a menu with the amount of calories listed next to each item. It’s tempting to go for that juicy burger (the GreenShip team loves the occasional burger!) but maybe the salad is a better call. GreenShip will never tell you not to get that 2 day shipping, but rather let you know the environmental cost so you can make an informed decision.
I mainly worked on the MVP, which ended up being a Chrome Extension. This Chrome Extension pulls your product information at checkout and by leveraging MIT research we are able to tell you the environmental cost of choosing expediated shipping over the other shipping methods.
I could talk about both the environmental implications of expediated shipping or my various decisions on the technology used in this MVP all day but in the end that’s not what I really want to focus on about this experience. The main thing I’m taking from this experience is how amazing it is working with a group of talented individuals. Not just hte specific memebers of my team but also the other busentrepenuers on the journey. We ended up sharing tons of stress, laughs, and ideas together. And even though GreenShip didn’t win the gold in the end - the real gold was the relationships we made along the way.