Redefining Detroit as the Startup Mobility Hub of the World

December 11, 2014

5:30 pm

We recently wrote an accelerator report that featured Detroit as one of America’s cities most affected by accelerator presences. Ford Motor Company today announced that they’ll help contribute to the growth in the city by joining Techstars to launch Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit.

A startup incubator, Techstars Mobility is aiming to deliver innovative mobility and transportation solutions. Specifically, the program will support companies working to better facilitate the transportation of people, goods, and services by soling the challenges in daily commutes like traffic and parking.

According to Techstars, the goal is to bring to market new technologies that incorporate mobile devices, wireless connectivity and cloud computing to make it easier for people to get around. This was actually a vision shared by Henry Ford dating back to the company’s start in 1903.

“As society faces the increasing challenges of traffic congestion, crowded cities and poor infrastructure, we must reinvent the way we live and do business if we want to make a positive impact on future generations,” says Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “We’re seeing some of the most exciting consumer products and services on the market today coming from innovative startup companies. It will be great to be part of bringing that type of new thinking to Detroit and the automotive industry.”

Initially, 10 startups will be selected by stakeholders in Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit to participate in the program, which will be based in downtown Detroit. Companies will receive $120,000 in funding, plus three months of training in business development, customer acquisition, and effective executive recruitment, along with guidance from top business mentors.

The incubator series will run over a three-year period, with a total of 30 startup companies. The program stems from the vision of Bill Ford, who has been a leader in drawing global attention to the potential long-term consequences of growing gridlock around the world.

Joining Ford in the initiative is auto supplier Magna International Inc. and Verizon Telematics. Together they’ll commit $2 million in funding plus mentors and other resources to support participating startups. Several Michigan-based VC firms will provide guidance to participants.

Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit will be led by Managing Director Ted Serbinski – a Silicon Valley transplant, entrepreneur, and investor who relocated to Detroit in 2011 to join Detroit Venture Partners.

Applications for the first class of 10 startups will be accepted through March 15. The program will kick off in early summer next year and conclude on September 10, 2015.

“The Michigan and Detroit startup ecosystems are growing fast, and I’m excited to help redefine Detroit as the startup mobility hub of the world,” Serbinski said.

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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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