I finished my third Techstars Mobility Accelerator program this month. It was an incredible experience, and I’m grateful to Lisa Seymour, my colleague and partner in running this program, for the terrific associates and volunteers that joined us this year, and of course, the incredible founders that came from all around the world to Detroit for 13 weeks.
Since June 2015, we’ve been super busy. We’ve invested in 33 startups from six different countries — only two came from Michigan. Of these startups, 21 have founders with diverse backgrounds. As a portfolio, they have gone on to raise $45M and are valued at $200M, with one exit (Hagerty acquired Classics&Exotics from our 2015 program). I expect these numbers to go up quite a bit as we head into 2018.
On Oct 18, 2017, our third program wrapped up with a multi-event demo day. Over the course of the day, we hosted over 1200+ individuals from 113+ different automotive OEMs, suppliers, transportation companies, and leading mobility venture capital funds. Our 2017 Techstars Mobility demo day was the largest single-day event focused on mobility startups in the world. This was also the third year we’ve had over 1000+ individuals at our demo day, continuing its recognition as the largest single-day startup event in Michigan.
The Most International Class to go through the Mobility Program
- Axle Travel (New York City) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Axle Travel is the next evolution in ground-based, long-distance travel. We offer door-to-door transportation by combining on-demand ride-sharing services with our own pop-up intercity bus service.
- Carma (Washington D.C.) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Carma offers month-to-month subscriptions to your own car with insurance, maintenance and road assistance included. Like WeWork, for cars.
- cycuro (Tel Aviv, Israel) — Watch their demo day pitch here
cycuro is the world’s first data validation platform built specifically for mobility. We deliver data integrity to mobility operators and services providers via a cloud SaaS.
- Damon X Labs (Vancouver, Canada) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Using AI and edge computing, Damon’s sensor-driven platform unlocks the full potential of collision avoidance systems, making motorcycling safer by alerting riders to threats they can’t see.
- Derq (Dubai, UAE) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Derq is an MIT spin-off developing AI-based V2X software applications for connected and autonomous vehicles to eliminate road accidents and save lives.
- EcoG (Munich, Germany) — Watch their demo day pitch here
EcoG is the monetization engine of sustainable electric vehicle charging.
- Fathom (Grand Rapids, MI) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Fathom is modernizing and simplifying the recreational rental industry starting with its flagship product, the Fathom One, an underwater drone built for adventure.
- Gridwise (Pittsburgh, PA) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Gridwise is a mobile platform for rideshare drivers which increases their earnings 39% by leveraging data analytics and community to help them better understand when and where to drive.
- SEEVA (Seattle, WA) — Watch their demo day pitch here
SEEVA Technologies designs visibility systems for mobility. Our technologies quickly clean windshields, cameras, LIDAR and other sensors to help vehicles see.
- Vartega (Golden, CO) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Vartega creates low-cost recycled carbon fiber for vehicle lightweighting to enable mobility solutions such as battery technology, connectivity, and autonomy.
- Wheeli (New York City) — Watch their demo day pitch here
Wheeli is the carpooling app for college students — the Airbnb for the empty car seats on the road.
Forcing Serendipity by Connecting Amazing People Together
During the 2017 Techstars Mobility Accelerator program, over 2,500 meetings were scheduled between the 11 startups and hundreds of mentors representing OEMs, suppliers, transportation companies, and leading mobility venture capital funds.
I like to call this “forced serendipity” — when you pair up a bunch of amazingly smart people, the collisions of ideas and momentum of network lead to incredible results.
Ultimately that is the secret to why this program works so well. Through these encounters, founders received a lot of different viewpoints. Data gathered from these meetings is distilled down into wisdom that the founders use to grow their business, and the results always amaze me.
Thank you to all the great mentors that have supported the last three programs. And an extra special thank you to these 32 mentors as rated “most helpful” by the founders that have gone through Techstars Mobility.
With our third program behind us, we aren’t slowing down.
We’ve partnered with the 2018 North American International Show (aka the Detroit Auto Show) again this year to bring over 50 mobility startups from around the world to Detroit.
During the week of January 14th, we’ll be unveiling our 2018 program with our supporting corporate partners and application link for startups to apply.
Look for more updates as we get closer to 2018.
If you’d like to talk with any of these mobility startups, let me know I’d be happy to connect you. Shoot me a note here.
Originally published at tedserbinski.com.