Surviving, Thriving and Splitting on the StartupBus to SXSW

Startupbus, for those unfamiliar is a competition where 10 cities (11 this year) each have a bus heading towards Austin, TX for SXSW.  The goal is to create a startup in 3 days with complete strangers after getting on the bus.  It’s a hackathon on wheels.

Highlights that I’ve experienced thusfar:

  1. Vomiting.  This trip is horrible for those with weak stomachs or has motion sickness like me.
  2. Complete breakdowns. Teams will join and split faster than the
  3. Sleep deprivation.  You’ll learn that sleep is a luxury and something you can’t afford on the bus.
  4. Food.  Everyone quickly realizes that the on-board toilet isn’t an option…
  5. Burritos.  Founders love burritos, but burritos don’t love us back.  =(
  6. Opportunities.  A startup was offered a $10k letter of intent based on an idea & a conversation.
  7. Startups aren’t isolated to SF and NYC, cities across the nation and nipping at our heels.
  8. Developers.  Being one isn’t enough.  Everyone is realizing that code doesn’t guaranty anything.
  9. No developers.  We’re also reminded this bus isn’t going anywhere without developers either.
  10. Hustle.  You need to call in every favor from your Aunt Jemima to Santa Clause. Begging is an asset.

I’m on the startup right now and I went through a whirlwind, so far.  My cofounder and I were part of another team, but decided that we wanted to do a different idea.  Some drama ensued, but everyone parted ways happily.

We’re working on (we’re releasing access to the first 25 readers free) an iOS and Android mobile app that will destroy your receipts, tax worries and save you money!  TaxCast does this by:

  1. Helping you retain and record transactions for you to download later (IRS Audit Defense Report)
  2. Forecast your income with as little info input as 1 day can be used to project your income
  3. We’ll tell you how much taxes you’ll owe right away anytime
  4. We’ll compare your expenses to the IRS Database!

Look forward to seeing us win at SXSW on the StartupBus!


Cameron Keng

Cam is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”), Enrolled Agent before the Internal Revenue Service (“EA”), New York State Department of Education Business Teacher and future New York State Attorney-at-Law. Cam is co-authoring an Entrepreneur’s Guide in Asia with Derek Sivers, founder of CDbaby and TED Speaker. He's been recently interviewed by Mixergy as a successful entrepreneur. His current project range from running and founding a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax clinic for low-income families, the elderly and non-native english speaking immigrants to writing for awesome publications like techli. You can find him on twatter @cameronkeng. =)

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Longer distance tours are also carried out by bus, either on a turn up and go basis or through a tour operator, and usually allow disembarkation from the bus to allow touring of sites of interest on foot.

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