My Summer Internship at Busbud: Marc-Olivier Alain

8 Sep

Being in my fourth and final year as Software Engineering student at Laval University, I was looking for an internship that would challenge me to get out of my comfort zone. Montreal’s startup community was an obvious choice to help me achieve this goal. At this time, I already knew a little bit about Busbud, and the more a learned about the startup, the more I felt it was the right fit for me. After going through a rigorous hiring process, I was finally hired as Web Developer Intern for the summer of 2014 – and it was amazing! Here are 10 reasons why.

The team playing soccer at our annual Busbud BBQ

Soccer match at our annual team BBQ

1. Being challenged on a daily basis
Everyday is different at Busbud. Evolving in a startup means moving fast – really fast. So everything you do challenges you, and in turn, you never stop learning. That’s probably why it’s very stimulating to work here. You never know what your next challenge is going to be; you just look forward to it!

2. Spontaneous soccer games
After a busy month of June where we were living the World Cup (we built a widget to help travelers in Brazil get to each World Cup match), we had a team BBQ to celebrate all our hard work. Inspired by this big sporting event, we improvised a 90-minute soccer game in the park between two Busbud Nations: The Old against the Young. Note: At Busbud, being over 27 means being member of the oldies!

3. Broadcasting the World Cup on our walls
One great thing about Busbud is that our team is made up of talented people from all around the world. In turn, everybody had a different team to cheer for. We decide to broadcast the games on a wall in our office and as you can imagine, it lead to some pretty intense and dramatic moments, along with some in-house rivalry!

4. Build-up to the announcement
July 9th was a very important date for us as we announced the closing of our Series A funding round. All the preparations, along with the anticipation, were amazing. We were all very proud of the work we had accomplished and sharing the big news with the rest of the world was very rewarding.

The team

The team

5. Hack Week
Every three months, we take our minds off usual business to work on a completely new project. In three days, we pitched our ideas, developed the best ones in small teams, and presented them. It was an amazing week because it gave us the chance to work and collaborate with different team members at a light speed pace.

6. Owning a feature
I really enjoyed the fact that each team member is given the responsibility to create and deliver something from point A to point B. It’s nice to have enough freedom to plan and decide how you are going to do something – especially for an intern. It’s the best way to learn new things and to get the most out of your experience in a company.

7. Epic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
After being challenged by many members of the startup community, our three founders decided to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Busbud is not like any other startup, so we decided to do it in style at the Gare d’autocars de Montréal armed with a big Orléans Express bus in the backdrop, many bags of ice, and a lot of fun.

8. All-hands
Our weekly all-hands meeting every Friday afternoon is something I find really cool here at Busbud. We talk about what is going on in the company, what we like, what we need, what we want to improve, etc. This is the best way for everybody to speak their minds and obviously, there are a lot of funny moments.

9. Releasing J3
The last days before delivering one of our new partners were pretty crazy. Almost everyone on the team put some work into this so it was a big win for all of us. It was a long but rewarding final week concluded with a themed drink on Friday to celebrate in style!

Busbud drinks turns into Busbud BBQ!

Busbud drinks turns into Busbud BBQ!

10. Busbud drinks
At the end of every Friday afternoon, we finish the week with a 5 à 7. Everybody chills around our picnic table over some beers – or really strong Caipirinhas – while playing an intense match of Ping-Pong!

As I mentioned earlier, there were several goals I wanted to accomplish at Busbud this summer. I can without a doubt say that I have now officially completed my internship and that every one of these goals has not only been reached, but exceeded. I’m proud to say that I was a member of the Busbud team and that I contributed to its success in my own way. My biggest memory will always be the fun we had as a team and that’s why I can say that this company has a very bright future.

My Summer Internship at Busbud: Daniel Macario

5 Sep

Hi, I’m Daniel. I am a third year software engineering student at McGill University and I just spent 10 incredible weeks working at Busbud. I worked at this startup through a program called The Fellowship, which was created by Montreal-based venture capital Real Ventures. The program’s goal is to foster talent in entrepreneurship by giving a group of developers, designers, and marketers the opportunity to work at a startup and to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship.

The moment I heard about the fellowship I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my summer. The program brought together the two things that I had been craving to learn since high school: Startups and entrepreneurship. The startups that were part of the fellowship were all funded by Real Ventures, and as part of the application process I was asked which one interested me the most, so I began reading about the challenges and problems they were each solving.

The fellows and I at Busbud

The Real Ventures fellows and I at Busbud

Some of the startups I knew beforehand, like Frank and Oak and Breather, were both interesting places with ideas that I found very appealing. And then there where others that I had never heard of before, like Busbud. As I went through Busbud’s website, the first thing I did was type ‘Caracas to Valencia’ in the search bar, which is a popular route in Venezuela, where I am from originally. Seeing the route show up when I clicked ‘search’ blew my mind! I couldn’t believe how simple it was for a traveler to book a bus ticket connecting two cities in a remote country in South America.

I became really interested in Busbud’s huge vision: Unifying the fragmented bus industry through a web platform. This massive problem was something that I wanted to understand and that I knew would push my technical skills even further. So I submitted my application, and after interviews with both Real Ventures and Busbud CEO and co-founder LP Maurice, I was accepted! After 10 awesome weeks, here are 10 reasons why my internship at Busbud was memorable.

1. The team
Each and every one of the people building Busbud is extremely talented and unique. I still remember the days when I was getting to know the engineering and business teams. Everyone was open, friendly, and helped me when I felt unsure about how to approach a problem. It was awesome to have a two-minute chat with someone and completely shift my way of thinking about a problem.

2. The software stack
It was great to expand my technical skills working with technologies that I didn’t have much experience with before joining Busbud. Getting to know cutting-edge stuff like Node and Express really opened my mind to different styles of programming. I also got to build some cool features for the frontend using backbone.

3. The office
The office is a huge open space with a lounge area, kitchen, Ping-Pong table, standing desks, and spacious working areas. It beats any of the places I saw during the fellowship; and trust me, I visited a lot of startups.

4. Team lunch
Each Wednesday, the entire team enjoys a catered lunch together. It is a great time to get to know everyone better and learn more about the fields others have experience in, like product management and business development.

Team lunch

Team lunch

5. Code reviews
At Busbud, code is pushed to production pretty much on a daily basis. As part of this process, every new feature is peer reviewed by other developers. This feedback process allowed me to learn a lot from looking at code written by others, and to improve my own standards by having others look at my work.

6. The World Cup
It was a lot of fun to watch many of the World Cup games here at the office and to see the Brazil Bus Finder feature go live. This happened at the beginning of my fellowship, and I thought it was awesome to see how creative the feature was, along with all the buzz it generated on social media.

7. The timeline
In 10 weeks, I saw Busbud publicly announce their 9M series A round of funding, launch bus routes in Brazil and Spain, grow the size of the team, and adopt a new organizational structure more suitable for a later-stage startup. I can’t state how valuable it was to see all these events and changes take place; it really complemented everything I learned about entrepreneurship from the fellowship.

8. The meaningful work
Everything I worked on during my internship felt tangible and relevant to the development of the product. It feels great to push features that I know brought some value to the startup as a whole.

9. How everything ties together
The business team, the data-science team, and the engineering team all work closely together on tasks that continuously allow Busbud to expand its coverage and serve an increasingly better product. It is inspiring to see everyone work hard to meet the next big challenge.

10. The coffee machine
I forgot to mention they have a coffee machine the size of a mini fridge. If you are into coffee, this is where you’ll want to work!

I got so much out of my time here. Busbud offers an incredible environment fuelled by passionate people that are looking to learn, grow, and create. If you think this is an environment you’d enjoy being a part of, don’t hesitate reaching out – they’re always hiring!

 

 

Busbud CEO LP Maurice Selected for PhoCusWright “Class of 35″

27 Aug

We’re excited to announce that Busbud CEO LP Maurice has been selected for The PhoCusWright Conference’s 2014 “Class of 35″ Young Leaders Summit, uniting the brightest young stars in the travel industry who “have demonstrated the desire & passion to move the industry forward” this fall in downtown Los Angeles.

View the 2014 list of leaders here. Previous participants in the program have included senior executives from TripAdvisor, Priceline, Expedia, Google, Kayak, Amadeus, SilverRail, and Starwood Hotels, as well as the founders of leading travel startups Hipmunk, Rome2Rio, Ostrovok, Liftopia, and Tripping.

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Young Leaders Meet To Talk Travel Tech Innovation

The PhoCusWright Conference is the leading travel and technology convention focused on innovation in travel, tourism, and hospitality.

As part of the Class of 35 Young Leaders Summit, LP will get the opportunity to share and learn from like-minded entrepreneurs, discuss common challenges, and spread the Busbud vision.

This year’s edition of the PhoCusWright Conference, takes place between November 11th and 13th, 2014 in Los Angeles at the JW Marriott.

See you there!

Phocuswright LogoPhoto Credit: The PhoCusWright Conference

6 Events to Attend in Europe This August

1 Aug
Edinburgh International Festival 2014, Delusion11eif2014 - Photo credit, Wonge Bergmann

Edinburgh International Festival

August is the time of year where most of Europe is on holiday. While city dwellers head to the coast in search of a sunny beach, these festivals keep cities alive during summer months by drawing in both locals and tourists alike. If you’re headed to Europe – or are already there – here are six events to attend during the month of August.

1. The International Beer Festival in Berlin, Germany
Held between August 1st and 3rd on Karl-Marx-Allee, Berlin’s International Beer Festival doubles as a folk festival with various musical acts taking one of the many stages. Also known as “Beer Mile” (it spans 2 kilometers!), the event gets over one million visitors per year. This festival will satisfy beer aficionados, as it features both local and international craft beers and microbrews. This year, you’ll be able to sample a variety of 2,000 brews from 86 countries.

2. La Tomatina in Buñol, Spain
Be ready to get messy and paint the town red at La Tomatina! This traditional event takes place in Valencia’s Buñol on the last Wednesday of August each year and draws crowds from all over the world. The tradition caught on in the mid-forties after a local food fight erupted and has since stuck. The premise is simple: People gather the streets, wait until the first canon is fired at around 10am, and start throwing tomatoes! The second canon signals the end of the tomato fight. If you’re ambitious, take a shot at trying to climb the wooden pole to get to the ham (another tradition).

La Tomatina - © Instituto de Turismo de España (TURESPAÑA)

La Tomatina – © Instituto de Turismo de España (TURESPAÑA)

3. The Edinburgh Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland
Head to the Scottish capital to enjoy a display of art and culture at one of the largest festivals in Europe. Created in 1947 after the Second World War, its mission has always been to provide a platform for human growth through art. An umbrella term for the many events that makeup The Edinburgh Festival, it spans over three weeks and includes everything from performances, to music & comedy shows, and art exhibitions.

4. The International Street Art Festival in Waterford City, Ireland
From August 1st to the 3rd, this medieval city’s free, urban International Street Art Festival encompasses all the best in street music, theatre, and art. Also called “Spraoi,” the three-day event marks the beginning of the August Bank Holiday for UK residents. The festival focuses on both Irish and international art and exhibitions range from installations, to music, workshops, and more. Be sure not to miss the festival parade!

5. Amsterdam Gay Pride in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Held during the first few days of August, Amsterdam Gay Pride is it one of the largest pride celebrations in the world. It’s also one of the busiest weekends in Amsterdam during summer as thousands of people from across the globe gather to celebrate the festivities. The event hosts a number of parties, concerts, activities, and more, including the famous canal parade on the first Saturday of August.

Rock en Seine - © Victor Picon

Rock en Seine – © Victor Picon

6. Rock en Seine near Paris, France
From August 22nd to the 24th, Parisians and Europeans will head to the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud just west of Paris to enjoy their favorite bands perform at Rock en Seine. Hailed as one of the largest music festivals in France, it comprises four open-air stages, along with a campsite for those who wish to stay the weekend. This year’s line-up includes Lana Del Rey, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, and Blondie, along with many other coveted acts.

Are you headed to Europe this August? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Tourspain, Victor Picon, and Wonge Bergmann

La Tournée des Entrepreneurs – Promoting Entrepreneurship In Quebec

30 Jul

La Tournee des entrepreneurs group photo Charlevoix 2014

This past weekend, Busbud CEO LP Maurice embarked on the first of three roadtrips across the province of Quebec as part of La Tournée des entrepreneurs.

Watch the video recap of the weekend in Baie-St-Paul, Charlevoix.

 

Connecting with local entrepreneurs

The tour brought together entrepreneurs from different regions of the province in order to learn, share experiences and inspire. Topics discussed included prototyping, how to sell online, fundraising, web analytics, innovative business models and social entrepreneurship.

Montreal entrepreneurs participating at this first event: Caithrin Rintoul (Provender), Sophie Boulanger (BonLook), Christine Renaud (E-180), Francis Gosselin (f&co), Raff Paquin (AlveoLabs and formerly Frank & Oak) and Fabrice Vil (Pour 3 Points).

Next stops, Gaspé and Rouyn-Noranda!

tournee-des-entrepreneurs-bbq-charlevoix

tournee-des-entrepreneurs-cercle-de-discussion-charlevoix

Bus Around the World: Amsterdam, Netherlands

23 Jul

Did you know that Amsterdam’s canals date back to the 17th century? Considered one of its most popular attractions, take the bus to the Dutch capital and explore the city by sitting near the many waterways and enjoying idyllic walks through the main squares.

Busbud-Amsterdam-Travel-4

Busbud-Amsterdam-Travel-3

Busbud-Amsterdam-Travel-1

Busbud-Amsterdam-Travel-2

Photos taken by Sofia Mazzamauro

Visit Busbud to learn more about iDBUS’ schedules and tickets.

If you have a cool bus photo you’d like to submit, please contact us!

Q&A with Abigail King: On Swapping Scrubs for Travel Writing and Photography

19 Jul
Abigail King

Abigail King

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who have had firsthand experiences wandering the world. Last time, we featured Matt Long from LandLopers. Today, we’re happy to feature Abigail King from Inside the Travel Lab.

When Abigail decided she was going to leave her day-to-day life behind to pursue a career in travel writing and photography, she also left behind her career as a doctor. Now, she’s a successful lifestyle journalist and blogger who splits her time between writing travel stories and snapping photos that will leave you in a permanent state of wanderlust. Lucky for us, Abigail takes the time to answer our questions!

Beit Sitti Amman Jordan

Beit Sitti, Amman Jordan

1. Where are you now and where are you headed next?
Right now, I’m in Cardiff getting ready for a summer of festivals as part of the #MustLoveFestivals projects (16 digital storytellers heading to more than 40 festivals across Europe this summer). I’ll be covering festivals in Nuremberg, Puglia, Dublin, Malta, and Barcelona.

2. You gave up your life as a doctor to achieve your dream of becoming a travel writer. How did you make the jump and what was your biggest challenge?
I did what I always do and read a lot of books on the subject! Then, I saved up some money to cushion the blow and gave myself a one year trial period to find out whether I really wanted to write or whether it was just a fantasy. The biggest challenge was definitely getting that first commission. I think that’s easier now that there’s blogging to soak up your time and talent (and energy!) but those first few months of nothing but rejection letters were definitely the toughest.

3. You’ve been published in the BBC, National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet, and have won numerous awards. How do you balance work and travel?
It’s tricky! Again, blogging is slightly easier because you’re usually covering the place you’re currently in. With traditional freelance work, you can be, say, in a market in Hong Kong and get a query about a piece on a beach in Barbados that the editor wants feedback on ASAP. So, then you find yourself tucked in an Internet cafe writing about Barbados while the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong swirls around you.

Fish, Okinawa

Okinawa

4. You’re also a talented photographer; where did you pick up the craft and what is the most photogenic place in the world?
Well, thank you! Again, a lot of reading and a lot of practice – that’s my top tip for getting better at photography: Take more photos. Then, ask yourself whether you’d be happy sending those photos to a customer. That really sharpens up your skills.

Ah, there are so many photogenic places in the world. But the Namib Desert is exceptionally beautiful so I think I’d have to say that. Sossusvlei (Death Valley) has a jigsaw cream floor that spreads out across rusty red sand while dark skeletons of trees spike into the sky…it’s stunning.

Namib Desert

Namib Desert

5. At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. What do you think about this mission and do you think this type of service would benefit the travel community?
It’s a great mission, so in one word, yes!

6. Do you have a memorable bus story to share with our readers?
Hm. I was on an overnight bus in Mexico once near the border with Guatemala when soldiers stormed on and yanked out the passenger sitting behind us. That was pretty memorable.

7. Wow, that must have been quite an experience! Has it changed the way you feel about taking buses and do you still rely on them to get around?
Haha! No, well I’ve seen people marched off planes and trains too by the police so I think if you let things like that put you off you’ll never do anything and never go anywhere. Buses definitely still have a place in my travel toolkit – they have the advantage that they usually arrive in the center of town and they provide great views and chances for reading (and sleeping) that driving can’t match.

Landing in Madikwe Game Reserve

Landing in Madikwe Game Reserve

Thanks, Abigail!

You can follow Abigail’s adventures on her blog, as well as on Facebook & Twitter.

Photos by Abigail at Inside the Travel Lab

Bus Around the World: Jurassic Coast

15 Jul
Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast

Located on the English Channel, this World Heritage Site is accessible through many of the UK’s southern towns by bus. With gorgeous cliffs and limestones that line the shore, Jurassic Coast is a must on your getaway.

Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Limestones

Photos taken by Julia Trudeau

Visit Busbud to learn more about National Express and iDBUS’ schedules and tickets

If you have a cool bus photo you’d like to submit, please contact us!

Q&A with Matt Long: On Being Bitten by the Travel Bug & Where to Find Good Eats

12 Jul
Matt Long

Matt Long

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who have had firsthand experiences wandering the world. Last time, we featured Michael Glass from Backpacker Travel. Today, we’re happy to feature Matt Long from LandLopers.

When Matt caught a bad case of the travel bug, he decided to cure it by visiting over 65 countries on all seven continents. Now, sharing his numerous experiences and adventures with a large roster of daily readers, Matt writes on the best the world has to offer. Based in Washington, DC, he took the time to answer a few of our questions.

Antarctica

Antarctica

1. Where are you now and where are you headed next?
I’m spending a lot of time at home this summer to catch up on work and get myself organized after a really active spring. I start all over again in late August though when I head to Alberta, Canada to explore the Cowboy Trail and a few of their beautiful national parks. This fall, I’ll also be visiting Milan, Italy, Malta, Jordan, and Sri Lanka!

2. How did you decide to make the switch from working a 9-to-5 job to becoming a travel writer, editor, and photographer?
Well, it wasn’t really my choice. I’d been working towards that goal for a couple of years when I lost my job. Rather than look for something else, I decided that it was a sign and used it as an opportunity to make the transition to full-time travel blogger. Two years later, I’ve learned a lot but so far so good!

Venice

Venice

3. Your blog’s Good Eats section is my personal favorite! If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and which country would it be from?
That’s a really hard question. Food is such an important part of the overall travel experience and I have a lot of favorites around the world. My (current) all-time favorite is well-executed Peking duck. I had the meal of a lifetime while in Taiwan and have since tried it a few other times and as long as the meal is executed well, it’s my personal favorite. I’m already salivating just talking about it, in fact.

4. Finally, you mention that your blog caters to “everyone from the novice to the pro traveler.” What are your go-to tips and which do you think all travelers should have in their back pocket?
A few of my favorite tips include:
1. Don’t overplan your trip! Organize a few things, but keep the schedule loose and allow for the spontaneous.
2. Pack Ziploc bags to use them for everything from organizing your carry-on bags to storing dirty clothes.
3. Check out local grocery stores not only to see what the local area values in its food, but for the best deals on snacks, beverages, and food-related gifts and souvenirs.

Cape Town

Cape Town

Thanks, Matt!

You can follow Matt’s adventures on his blog, as well as on Facebook & Twitter.

Photos by Matt Long at LandLopers

 

The Road Ahead

9 Jul

Busbud office

Today, Busbud is proud to announce the closing of a $9M Series A funding round co-led by OMERS Ventures and Revolution Ventures, with participation from iNovia Capital and Real Ventures.

This is a special milestone for our team at Busbud. We are very proud of the road travelled so far and grateful for all the support we’ve received in the past few years. We’ve come a long way since our humble beginnings when our founding team worked from my basement and living room.

The investment will help us further fulfill our mission: to make bus travel easy around the world. When I visited South America in 2011, I realized the bus booking experience could be greatly simplified, especially for international travellers. We’ve been at hard work solving this challenge ever since. This new round will allow us to keep improving our product, grow the team and expand our coverage to new markets.

I would like to personally thank all our bus operator partners and travellers who have trusted us since the start. With the help of our partners, we will continue to offer a smart mobility solution that makes it easy for travellers everywhere to roam the planet by bus. In addition to being budget-friendly, the bus is one of the greenest forms of transport available and we are proud to keep promoting its benefits.

I’d also like to thank each member of our amazing team. To my co-founders, to our early team members who joined us two years ago and to those who joined the team just last week, I appreciate your trust and dedication. It’s a pleasure to wake up every morning and work on hard problems together with you. Thanks also to the many investors and advisors who were early believers in the market opportunity and stood beside us to help us realize our vision. There is still a long road ahead, but we would not be here today without you.

Finally, I’d like to offer a special thanks to the Montreal startup ecosystem. While our service is used in various parts of the world, most of the Busbud team is proudly based in Montreal, Canada. Countless members of our ecosystem – which really feels like a family more than an ecosystem on most days – have generously helped us, opened doors and taught us what it took to build a great company. We are grateful and indebted for your continued support.

We’re excited about the future and happy to have you all onboard with us for the ride.

Want to work with a great team on exciting challenges? We’re hiring. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest Busbud updates.

LP Maurice (@lpmo)
CEO & Co-Founder, Busbud

Busbud team photo on July 2014

Photo credit: Andrew Budyk & Alain Wong

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