Last year around this time, we wrote about the infamous StartupBus, founded by Elias Bizannes, an Australian now living in San Francisco, who proposed it on the Silicon Beach Google Group, a leading Australian tech entrepreneur forum which Bizannes also started.

The plan is simple – get 25 entrepreneurs on a bus for 2 days and get them to create 5 startups that will be pitched to investors when they arrive in Austin. This year, Startup buses are leaving from San Francisco, New York City, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Miami and Cleveland.

Screen shot 2011 03 09 at 12.04.58 PM 520x292 New York City is winning in the SXSW StartupBus Game

The buses left port earlier this week. The NYC bus has just passed the city of Atlanta and is entering a tornado. Meanwhile, the Chicago startup bus apparently went into a casino, according to Bizannes. As the buses roll toward Austin, TX to arrive at SXSW, interested parties can partake in the SXSW StartupBus Stock Exchange Game. In the game, users can “buy” and “sell” shares of stock in startups, earn badges for their accomplishments, and compete against other players for spots on the leaderboards.

So who’s winning? New York City of course!

Screen shot 2011 03 09 at 11.59.23 AM 520x307 New York City is winning in the SXSW StartupBus Game

“The concept is around raising money (as players of the game) through certain actions and buying stock in the startups to make more money. The startups themselves need to perform certain milestones which impacts their share price. You don’t actually get any real world stock in the company, as it’s just a game,” explains Bizannes.

Here’s how it works:

I’m a player and I want money

Players of the game can earn bus dollars in various ways. You start with $100 initially but the following allow you to generate more bus dollars.
Every hour a player receives bus dollars based on their firm’s experience level. Upgrading your firm’s experience level (from your profile) will give you more bus dollars per hour. There are six firms you can achieve in the game, starting from Novice and ending with Guru.
Every badge you achieve gives you money based on difficulty. You can see a list of all badges and their achievement status on your profile.
Every time you get a unique click through your referral link, you receive $1.
This is your referral link—go and share it! http://www.startupbus.com/ref/58

I’m a buspreneur and I want a better share price

The share price of your startup is impacted by your growth rate, which updates the share valuation every hour. The base growth you will get is 1% per hour, but you can improve your growth rate by satisfying a list of milestones, which will be activated on confirmation by your bus conductor. Go and meet your milestones as soon as possible: your shareholders will thank you.

How is the valuation of a startup determined?

Like the real world… in a non-realistic, yet simpler way. It depends on the amount of stock held by shareholders at that point in time, which is what determines the valuation of the startup. So if three people own one share each valued at $1 each, the startup is worth $3.

Get in the game here.

Follow the New York City StartupBus on Tumblr.