On The List Brings Exclusive Concert Experiences to Regular People




Startup Bus is rolling on along, and companies are talking, coding, and pitching fast.

On the Tennessee Startup Bus, On the List dominates the back seats. Even on little sleep, the team is hyped up and excited about their product.


Imagine you’ve gotten tickets to the hottest show coming to town this month. Most likely, you bought your ticket on a platform that charged outrageous fees, and you’ll be far from the stage or squashed in a crowd. That’s how concerts have always been, and it’s what we’ve come to expect.

Meanwhile, a brand–say Heineken–has spent $50,000 on sponsoring the event. That means their name is branded along the event and probably plastered all over the venue. Unfortunately, because we’re all used to branding at this point, you may not even notice the signs.

On the List solves both of these problems. As a fan, you pay the same amount for tickets, but brands sponsor add-ons that make your experience exponentially better. Forget signs or hats. What if Heineken sponsored your beer during the show? My guess is you’d remember Heineken fondly after that, and it’ll probably cost them as much or less than the “big” sponsorship.

The idea was originally pitched by Jack McCann. As a concert promoter in Nashville, McCann had first hand experience in the gap between brand sponsorship and audience engagement.

“When I was a kid I played a lot of Connect the Dots,” McCann told me when I asked about his initial inspiration. (Forgive him. We’ve been up for many, many hours.)

“The idea of throwing money at the big picture and hoping for a halo effect seems like that’s just not effective anymore,” he said once we got serious. “Brands needed a better value proposition. I thought it would be innovative and disruptive to allow them to directly connect with the fans. It gives brands an agile opportunity to curate the fan experience.”

A team of guys coalesced around it and got to work. And by got to work, I mean got to work. During our crazy trip, the team has validated their concept, built their service, and signed up users. One team member made 50 phone calls yesterday, pacing the bus and recruiting users. On the List is smoking through this Startup Bus thing.

You can go ahead and sign up on their website.

Feeling Left Out of the Startup Bus? Play the Game!


 San Antonio or Bust

San Antonio or Bust

Startup Buses around the country are making their way to San Antonio, ice and border patrol be damned.

There’s so much happening on the buses. We’ve been traveling with the Tennessee Startup Bus, which I’ve gotten pretty partial to. But, there are also buses winding their way from Washington state, New York, Guadalajara, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, and California. Every bus has encountered some issues along the way. (Last we heard, the Mexico bus kept getting stopped at the border.)

But that’s not slowing down the teams.

Every bus has 4-5 teams coding away, building businesses regardless of obstacles. Don’t believe me? Check out the game.

The Startup Bus Game allows you to get to know all the teams and watch their milestones as they travel. You can also pick your favorite (as long as it’s a Tennessee team) and invest in their company.

“The game exists because Startup Bus has a limited number of spots, but people wanted to be involved and know how they could support the teams,” said Jonathan Gottfried, National Director of StartupBus. “So we created the game to give them a way to be more involved and help local entrepreneurs.”

Each team’s performance in the game also affects the final judging. If the judges are on the fence about a team in the qualifying round, a great showing in the Startup Bus Game will help push them into the semifinals.

Don’t miss out on the fun anymore. Head on over to the Startup Bus Game and start investing.

TrustVino Helps You Find the Best Wine Around


trustvinoMy favorite startups are the ones I that make me say, “I want that!”

When I heard the pitch for TrustVino, I wasn’t too impressed. Untapped for wine. Eh, cool, I guess, but not ultimately exciting.

Then the TrustVino team kept talking. Their tagline is Wine, Socially. Similar to a social network, they utilize “friends” and a stream (or, “pour” if you will). Users download the app and have access to the company’s wine database. From there they can start finding friends, recommend wines, and add their own favorite wines. Then, the next time they’re at the wine store, they can pull up the web app and get a recommendation from their friends about the next wine to try.

rsz_incontentad2TrustVino can be used by wine snobs and wine newbs alike. More knowledgeable wine drinkers can expand their expertise, but they can also accumulate a “following” of people looking for great wines. People just getting into wine, who are overwhelmed by the options, vintages, and flavors, can get quality recommendations as they explore the wine world.

Most social media models rely on huge user bases to monetize through ads. TrustVino is shooting for revenue out the gate, with an affiliate model that allows people to click through to Wine.com to buy the recommended wine. They have some interesting ideas for other revenue streams that can implemented when the user base grows.

Oh, yeah. This awesome app I’m already anxiously awaiting is being built on the Tennessee Startup Bus.

“Initially we thought this would be a cool app to build on a bus about wine,” cofounder Roxanne Spielvogel told me. “But when we started telling people about it we realized that this was actually a real need in the market.”

The idea was pitched by Boaz Reynolds on the first leg of the trip. By the time we got back on the bus in Chattanooga, the team was formed and they were ready to go.

“Ultimately this is something I wanted to use, something I wanted to have. It’s selfishly mine,” Boaz Reynolds, cofounder of TrustVino. “The team gravitated to the idea in Chattanooga, and it just kind of organically happened.”

You can follow TrustVino on Twitter, and they’ll let you know when the app is ready.

There are some amazing companies being built on the Tennessee Startup Bus, and the other buses crisscrossing the country. But TrustVino is the first one I’ve heard of that I’m wishing was a thing right this minute.

Because, hey, we’re stuck in Baton Rouge, LA thanks to ice, and I need a drink.

Ice Doesn’t Slow Down the Tennessee Startup Bus



What do you do when you have a bus full of entrepreneurs, ready to work…and stuck?

The Tennessee Startup Bus is finding that out in Memphis this morning. The sleet and ice started coming down last night on the way in from Birmingham, and by the time we pulled up to the hotel in Memphis, we were walking through ice.

But that’s nothing. This morning the door of the bus was frozen shut. Forget the bad roads or sleet still coming down. We couldn’t even get on the bus!

So, we headed down the street to the beautiful new Start Co building and made ourselves at home.

The teams got right down to work, and the momentum is beautiful to behold. One team is even talking about the users they’ll have signed up by the end of the day.

Because the Tennessee Startup Bus is killing it.


(Note: I totally get that I’m breaking by journalistic integrity by being so biased. But I dare any of you to ride along with a group of amazing entrepreneurs from anywhere and not start cheering for them.)

The awesome thing about our being stranded in Memphis, besides the proximity to our amazing conference venue, is that we’re also close to the new Start Co offices. After moving this weekend, we are the first entrepreneurs to fill the space, which was only a short walk from our hotel.

“We’re excited to host and be able to provide hospitality for a longer period of time,” Start Co founder and CEO Eric Mathews told me. “We believe serendipity is a huge part of entrepreneurship, and we’re glad we were downtown and able to bring the Startup Bus to our space.”

It’s getting crazy on the Startup Bus, y’all. Follow us on @nibletztweets for all the updates. You can also follow the teams to get their perspective:




Tennessee Startup Bus Knows How to Travel in Style


“We’re not taking a Greyhound,” Steve Repetti  told me Saturday night at the orientation for the Tennessee Startup Bus. Well, that was an understatement.


Currently wrapped in the logos of sponsors LaunchTN, Jumpstart Foundry, and Crunchfire, the bus is regularly employed as a tour bus for rock stars and politicians. So, basically, it’s the perfect bus to host the building of the next hot startup.

rsz_incontentad2I’ve never been on the Startup Bus before. The first day was an amazing experience.There’s something unique about a bus full of incredibly smart people, pulled out of their comfort zones and on course to a huge competition.

Like the team who came back to the mentoring session with a half-baked that the investor mentors tore apart.

Like all startup pitch/hackathon events, we started the trip with people pitching their ideas and the crowd picking the ones they wanted to work on. Those of us on the outside were a little surprised by this one idea–an anti-social network social network–being picked. But, hey, the crowd picked it, and the team assembled, so maybe it would work.

It wouldn’t.

All the other mentoring sessions took about 30 minutes. We helped the teams refine their ideas, think through monetization, and identify next steps. An hour into the meeting with this one team, we were still going round-and-round about what the idea even was exactly. Everyone was cramped, tired, and stressed, and we were getting nowhere with this awesome team. At this point, it’s about 8:15, and thanks to the weather, we’re running an hour behind getting into Memphis. Things looked very, very bleak.

This about the time Startup Bus magic happened.

After ascertaining that everyone was at an impasse, with no way to make this project work and no new ideas to pursue, Repetti pulled them to the front of the bus and announced to all the buspreneurs that the team needed help back at square one.

“This isn’t failure,” he said. “You only fail when you decide to quit. This is how the process is supposed to work.”

All of the teams willingly put their own tasks aside to help the 4th team brainstorm new ideas. There was lots of hilarity and very few real ideas, but as the time passed, you could see the team go from defeated to hopeful again. Just the act of being back out with their fellow entrepreneurs, being encouraged, and laughing brought their spirits back up.

Finally someone said, “What about the emergency alert app that was pitched earlier?”

Lightbulbs went off.

The team reconvened with the mentors and talked through the logistics of the idea. The guy with the original idea, who was already on a different team, willingly agreed to let the team build out his idea and consult for them as they went.

Honestly, it was an agonizing 2 1/2 hours. You think stress is bad in a normal room, where you can walk away for a minute to think? Try it on a bus, where there’s nowhere to go.

There’s a lot of time left on this crazy trip. Sundays’s stresses ended well, and the team is re-energized and focused on building the best product they can.

But will Monday end as well?

Maryland Startups Square Off With Texas Governor Rick Perry

Startup Maryland, Startup Bus, Governor Rick PerryWhile he hasn’t declared his candidacy for President of the United States in 2016, we can just about count on the fact that Texas Governor Rick Perry will run for the Republican nomination. It’s just about as sure a thing as Hillary running for the Democratic nomination.

Even though he isn’t officially a candidate Perry has been making the rounds both internationally and nationally, soft campaigning and warming people up to his way of thinking.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Governor Perry was in Bethesda Maryland for meetings with local political and business officials. The Governor’s meetings were taking place at Morton’s steak house a popular restaurant in the Maryland suburb of Washington DC.

It was there that the Startup Maryland bus, loaded with entrepreneurs and startup founders pitching their companies across the state, came face to face with the Republican Governor.

“If you want to live in a state where you have high taxes and a relatively burdensome regulatory climate, if you want to live in a state where the litigation is relatively easy to get into, then go live in those states,”  Perry had told local website BethesdaNow earlier in the day.

“The messaging from Governor Perry is laser focused on the tax environment,” said Startup Maryland co-chair Michael Binko told the Washington Post. “If businesses are only looking at the tax environment for where they should go to succeed, we think that’s shortsighted as entrepreneurs and probably a recipe for disaster.”

Binko is not alone. The issues of lower tax rates and lower cost of living are always popping up in the Silicon Valley vs “everywhere else” startup debate, with PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy saying “But there’s a reason I never talk up taxes or cost of living as reasons other startup ecosystems will take off: Because none of the people who really matter give a shit about these things.” in this article addressing tax breaks, rates and cost of living for startups outside the valley.

While we’re not going to debate politics on the pages of nibletz.com, the current administration has overseen the passing and rolling out of the JOBS ACT, they’re looking at immigration reform that will make it easier for foreign founders to grow their startups here, and they’ve hosted a slew of startup focused events in conjunction with Startup America.

With the weight of turning the economy around falling on developing new businesses startups will be a hot issue in the 2016 campaign.

As for Maryland’s startup bus, this is the second year for the Startup Maryland bus which stops at various cities across the state and invites entrepreneurs and startup founders onto the bus to record video pitches. The pitches are voted on at the end of the bus tour.  The bus tour started in Ocean City Maryland on September 9th and runs through September 27th.



Chicago Startup Bus Team: MyBestRX Pitches In Startup Bus Finals At [sxsw]

MyBestRX, Startup Bus,startup,startup pitch,sxsw,sxswiA team of ambitious entrepreneurs, that hope to tip the scale when it comes to enabling affordable local healthcare, completed the first in their suite of mobile apps, designed for just that, while on board The Startup Bus.

The idea behind MyBestRX is simple. When people purchase prescription drugs from the pharmacy, there is no standard “MAP” pricing. You could very well find your prescription at your pharmacy for hundreds of dollars, and find it a mile down the road for half of that.

MyBestRX hopes to solve the problem of looking for the best price on prescription drugs. The app will allow you to key in or speak your prescription and it will return results based on both proximity and cost.

Other features include the voice response, as described above, and the ability for the user to take a photo of their current prescriptions and have it filled by way of email or fax directly from mobile.

MyBestRx positions themselves as “A Personalized Rx Concierge”, perhaps the easiest way to find and purchase prescriptions.

Check out the video below and for more info visit nibletz.com keyword: SXSW

Meet BriefSkate The First Team To Build A Product On The Startup Bus, And It Kicks Ass [SXSW]

Briefskate,Startups,startup pitch,sxsw,sxswi,Startup Bus

Briefskate team pitches at The Startup Bus Finals (photo: NMI 2013)

On Friday night at SXSW we attended the Startup Bus finals at the Rackspace lounge on 4th street in downtown Austin. We saw the best of the best from the teams that competed while traveling 60mph across the country, and from Mexico.

The teams competing in the finals came from the semi-finals when The Startup Bus busses parked in San Antonio on Thursday night. A Startup Bus alumni team also competed in Friday night’s finals.

They competed in front of a panel of judges which included Robert Scoble and Dave McClure.

One of the teams really impressed the judges and the nibletz team as well. In fact, Dave McClure immediately started taking pictures of the BriefSkate, skateboard with his iPhone as soon as the team put the skateboard on the stage.

BriefSkate is tackling a new issue. More and more people are resorting to skateboards, not just as a form of recreation, or to impress a bunch of hipster chicks with their skills, but for actual commuting. Turn to New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore and of course Austin and you’ll see people actually commuting to work on a skateboard.

The BriefSkate Skateboard was created and prototyped in 72 hours (photo: NMI 2013)

So what has this team done to revolutionize skating? They had a skateboard built with a compartment to hold  your laptop, papers, cell phones and chargers. The BriefSkate even has a handle so you can carry through the lobby at your Madison Avenue building like a brief case.

Every team had 4 minutes to pitch and 4 minutes for feedback but Scoble was so curious he gave the team an extra 30 seconds to explain just how they were able to get a product actually created in 72 hours.

The Briefskate team said on the first night they drew up the CAD drawings and emailed them off to a 3d printer. The 3D printer had to overnight the 3d mock up to the busses next overnight stop. With the 3D printed mock up in hand the team tweaked the design and shipped that off to a manufacturer in Florida, who returned the prototype via Fedex to the Rackspace headquarters so the team actually had a product.

The prototype is a little rough, it’s admittedly a little bit bigger than the team would like and the hinges are exposed as they would be on a cabinet, but nonetheless it is still a great idea that will most likely see the light of day.

Check out the video of The Startup Bus’ first product produced in three years below. And of course with a product built they already have a website up, you can find out more about BriefSkate here at briefskate.com

Like what you see, there’s much more SXSW2013 coverage here!