Detroit Michigan, once one of the most prominent, innovative, and industrial cities in the nation has had it’s share of hard times over the last few decades. From automotive plant closures, to corruption in city hall and even filing bankruptcy, Detroit is climbing an uphill battle back to prominence. The good news, startups and innovation are winning.
Part of that winning approach to reclaiming one of the best city’s in America is the partnership between Ford, Honda R&D Americas, McDonalds, Verizon Telematics, Dana Holding Group, Magna International, Munich Reinsurance America Inc and Techstars, the nations leader in accelerator programs. Detroit knows accelerators all too well having been the hub for America’s greatest motor companies, for decades.
This accelerator though, is the 90-120 day, immersive, cohort based accelerator model that all of us startup folks know all too well. Over the past couple of years, in addition to general tech programs, Techstars has entered into a series of partnerships with industry leaders to do vertical accelerator programs. This Techstars Mobility Driven by Detroit program is one of those programs.
This program is slated for three years and three separate “classes” of startups, hoping to spawn 30 companies in that period. Those startups will relocate to Detroit and work out of a 10,000 square foot space at Ford Field. Each startup team will also receive $120,000 a piece according to autonews.com
“The startups and our corporate partners are aware it is a big ecosystem. There are all kinds of other players. The startups can work with other companies; they’re not exclusive to these guys,” said Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars Mobility, Driven by Detroit, in an interview.
McDonalds and Verizon also make sense as strategic corporate partners because so much of their business involves vehicles, McDonald’s with their drive thru’s and Verizon with mobile.
Here are the first 10 startups:
• Ansik: Created an app that provides “mechanics and customers with advanced tools that helps them diagnose and troubleshoot cars on the fly.”
• CDL Warrior: Built an app for the trucking industry that connects truck drivers to their supply chain partners and improves efficiency, visibility and compliance.
• Classics & Exotics: A platform in which classic- and exotic-car enthusiasts can offset their car ownership costs by renting their cars to prescreened renters.
• Cosmos Browser: Internet via text messaging, no data or Wi-Fi required.
• Elegus Technologies: A spinout from the University of Michigan that is commercializing battery-separator technology that can enable safer, longer-lasting batteries.
• GearBrake: Creators of a brake-light module that can detect when a vehicle is slowing and automatically light the brake lights, reducing the risk of rear-end crashes by up to 90 percent.
• Motoroso: A Pinterest-style platform in which automotive enthusiasts and brands can share photos and video content.
• My Dealer Service: Web-based software application that connects automotive service departments to their customers via text or email with real-time updates on the vehicle status throughout the repair process.
• Splitting Fares: SPLT social ride-sharing app is designed to connect people with similar routes, share fare, save money, reduce traffic and emissions and change the way people meet and move in cities around the world.
• WISE Systems: The company provides real-time routing and analytics software to help on-demand delivery companies serve their customers more effectively. It was founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology students.