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Startups get on the bus to bridge geographic divide

Photo (17)
Score one for organically grown tri-county collaboration.

For the first time, startup groups teamed up to offer a bus from Boca to Refresh Miami’s event at The LAB Miami in Wynwood on Wednesday night, with a stop in Hollywood. About 25-30 took the bus and the cost was covered by generous donations. The next bus experiment will be next week -- Monday -- this time from Miami to the Startup Delray's Hack the Library event and is also free (more details about the event and Startup Delray are below).

The bus project was executed by Co-Go, a local bus ridesharing platform founded by Rob Eisner, and coordinated by Andrej Kostresevic of New Frontier Nomads and Lean Startup Circle and Irene Revelas of Startup Delray, who handled the logistics and promotion for Broward and Palm Beach counties. Refresh Miami's "Hardware Hacking & Robotics" event was the first test event and Refresh Miami and Brian Breslin helped promote it, too.

Photo (19)“The story is a nice example of cross-community collaboration. The South Florida “Group of Groups” was having a discussion on how to bring the communities closer together, and one of the big complaints was traffic and commute times,” said Andrej. “While the conversation was going in the direction of how to improve public transportation,  I remembered Co-Go, and suggested we run an experiment to see if there would be interest if the main complaint - long drive in bad traffic -  was removed. The idea was that we would offer a ‘networking on wheels’ alternative to driving by yourself and effectively make the bus itself part of the event experience. The feedback I heard was great - someone said ‘the event started on the bus,’ and that ‘people were talking and switching seats all the time.’ ”

Photo (18)Andrej said the  immediate plan is to keep running experiments “manually” (using eventbrite and manual coordination) in both directions to gauge interest from attendees and sponsors, and see if this can be sustainable. After that, New Frontier Nomads is helping Co-Go build out the platform.

Now what should we call The Bus? 

Below is information about the next event offering the bus. Brian Breslin said he would also like to offer the bus for the next Refresh Miami event April 25. Photos here are from the March 27 Refresh Miami event at The LAB.

Hack the Library - Startup Delray April 1

Help Startup Delray transform 5000 square feet at The Library Delray Beach from stacks of books to coworking and makerspace on April 1.  Entrepreneurs, innovators, designers, makers, engineers, technologists, artists, writers, small businesses, and social enterprises welcome!  You bring your creative ideas, and we'll bring the pizza, water, soda, and wine. Find details here.

The program:

6:30-7:00  Registration

7:00-7:15  Introductions

7:15-8:15  Break into groups to hack the space, imagining coworking and makerspace

8:15-8:45 Groups present concepts for the space

8:45-9:00 Wrap-up

9:00   After Party at 3rd & 3rd (301 NE 3rd Avenue @ the corner of NE 3rd Street in Pineapple Grove)

What is Startup Delray?

According to Irene Revelas, Startup Delray is working in partnership with the economic development team of the City of Delray Beach, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA); and The Library Delray Beach to create a place, programs, and events in the heart of the community.

"Our solution was to leverage our existing assets, and turn Delray into a Startup City, with The Library as the city's incubator.  We're planning to use 5000 SF of existing stack space and create a blend of coworking and makerspace.  We're excited about offering a 3D printing lab, self-publishing technology, and incorporating meetups, classes, and events in the space," she said.

"Our goal is to democratize innovation, by creating a space in the heart of the city, on our 'Main Street' - Atlantic Avenue," she continued. For 100 years, the Library has been a familiar and trusted community hub that serves people of all ages and backgrounds.  This project will play an important role in ensuring The Library's relevance into the next 100 years, Irene said.