When the D.C StartupBus finally rolled into Austin for South By Southwest this past weekend, the 1,500-mile journey from Washington had given rise to eight fledgling companies.
But the competition was fierce. Ten buses from other locations were also making their way to the Texas town, each packed with entrepreneurs looking to win.
In the end, two Washington upstarts made the list of 18 semi-finalists: Givingline, a pay-it-forward network where people can ask and receive help from others; and CuriousCity, an event finder for those with alternative sexual and social interests.
“D.C. was actually pretty well represented given that there were less than two teams per region,” said Derina Man, who organized the D.C. bus. “Both teams pitched very, very well.”
The companies were winnowed down to eight finalists, and only D.C.’s CuriousCity made that cut. But in the end, the crowning glory went to . . . Silicon Valley’s Cerealize, a firm that facilitates custom-order cereal.