Whether you want to disrupt Hollywood, build a mega game studio or start the next billion dollar ad network, “Silicon Beach” is the place to do it from.
This year marks the first ever departure of StartupBus from Los Angeles. On March 6, the bus left L.A. for the ride of a lifetime — follow our 72-hour adventure working to build exciting new startups while rolling toward Austin and SXSW.
Conductor Max Mullen rode the San Francisco bus in 2011, where he led the Bouncr team to the final round of the competition. This year Los Angeles has a lot to prove, and there’s only one acceptable result: #winning.
Yobrio is a mobile app that revolutionizes the way we interact with magazines by bridging the online with the offline to enable a rich, immersive experience.
After a day of seesawing from unbridled enthusiasm for extreme couponing to mere ambivalence, these six LA-based StartupBus-preneurs collectively “killed their darling” at four in the morning. But for every death, there is rebirth. At 4:30 a.m., lightning struck in room 235 at a Red Roof Inn on the outskirts of Phoenix: team yobrio was officially good to go.
Our highly-specialized team consisting of mutants, rogues, and other assorted misanthropes include:
* ‘Dru‘: Android fanboy, hacker extraordinaire (yet to be demonstrated)
* Andy: The silverback gorilla and the best PR man in the business.
* Johnny ‘Rarefied-Rock’ Jewell: The jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none
* Vincent: With a black-belt in skepticism, he is extremely dangerous when backed into a corner
* Yaxi (yaaaah-shee): ‘The Prez of Prezi’ and chief ideator
* Daniel: The biz man with the biz plan
Yobrio aims to bridge the gap between offline and online commerce. With yobrio, products are literally pulled off the page and placed into the world’s largest one-stop shopping cart. When users place orders, yobrio’s unique mobile platform relays those purchase orders to retailers. The retailers in turn ship these products out to the customer. This streamlines, but more importantly unifies the buying process across different media platforms.
We plan to generate revenue by partnering with online retailers and creating (millions) of affiliations. Down the line, we envision functioning as a look book for not only print magazines, but newspapers, billboards, television, and the like.
Yobrio is geared toward smartphone users who want further engagement with advertisements and displays they encounter, including one-click purchasing or bookmarking. These consumers:
* want quick, seamless, secure transactions
* want an elegant mobile interface to purchase items discovered offline
* want to bookmark products for future purchase
* value efficiency above all else
These consumers have attributed for the massive growth in ecommerce. Online B2C product sales totaled $142.5 billion last year, which accounted for 8 percent of total retail product sales in the US. Not only that, Forrester Research estimates that the US online retail industry will be worth $279 billion in 2015.
Consumers and readers care. There is currently nothing on the market comparable to Yobrio’s model: by corralling different products from various merchants into a single point-of-sale, online shopping becomes easier and more appealing.
Publishers and advertisers care. Yobrio adds depth to stale ads by adding an interactive element with the target customer in mind. By reducing the time between piquing a customer’s interest in a product and triggering a purchasing point, yobrio directly increases the advertiser’s conversion ratio and backs it up with detailed analytics. Publishers care because readers can take comfort in the experience of reading with the ability to instantly engage in an online transaction, or store items for later viewing. Magazines remain a sexy option for quick, easy shopping and browsing — it’s like Shazam for print publications.
“I’m sorry folks, but we’re looking at 3-6hr delays due to a dust storm on the road up ahead, I don’t think it’s wise to keep pushing towards Juarez so we’ll just have to stay put and wait it out”. The room rose up in simultaneous elation. This was the first effective working stop we would have for the entire trip and somehow the knowledge that we’d have to drive straight through the night and tomorrow didn’t seem to borrow them. For now, we had electricity, WiFi and a room of smiling faces head down in code. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Silicon Valley and Stanford are all reported to be affected by the west-coast system.
Welcome to StartupBus.
Easy now, we’re not breaking out the gravity guns before our imminent run in with our fellow Buspreneurs from northern California. We were just skimming the headlines and couldn’t help but notice this one: Why Los Angeles Will Outpace Silicon Valley As The Tech Startup Capital.
It’s a common thread on the L.A. StartupBus – how and why is LA’s Tech scene different Silicon Valley’s (or New York, Boston or Chicago for that matter)?
LA has a wealth of talent, as evidenced by the sampling of hackers, hustlers and hipsters on the bus but we also have investors of all kinds (and room for more). It’s more than just abundant sunshine, plastic surgeons and red carpets. Visit any of the startups, incubators and accelerators, collaborative workspaces, and coworking spots around Silver Lake, Santa Monica, Pasadena and you’ll see why LA’s riding a wave of momentum into Texas this year.
(Thanks for the shout-out Tara!)
by Andy Sternberg.
The Los Angeles StartupBus doubled in size when we picked up the Las Vegas contingent midday at The Beat Coffeehouse & Records in downtown Vegas. Double the buspreneurs, double the fun.
After an afternoon of planning, wireframing and coding we visited Co+Hoots coworking space to eat some pizza, drink some One Hope wine and test our nascent startup pitches on the solid gathering of Phoenix creatives and entrepreneurs hanging out to celebrate #3DAYSTOATX. Three days!
by Andy Sternberg.