Applications are now open for the 3rd Techstars Mobility program in Detroit.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve opened applications for the 2017 class of Techstars Mobility. We are looking for startups building technologies that impact how people and goods move around across all modes of transportation (including pedestrian). This encompasses a wide range of industries including automotive, transportation, smart city, energy, logistics, supply chain and travel. Technologies include software and hardware using artificial intelligence, machine/deep learning, VR, AR, robotics, autonomous, electric, shared, and connected. You can apply online here. Applications are open through April 9th.
We’re also excited to welcome next47, Siemen’s new corporate venture unit, to our consortium of corporate partners. This new partnership will further help us support companies in the smart city and mobility verticals. Learn more about the partnership here.
In early January, Techstars Mobility partnered with The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to bring startups from all over the world to Detroit to showcase their innovative mobility technologies as part of AutoMobili-D, a dedicated startup expo.
This was the inaugural year for the AutoMobili-D exposition which featured 120 exhibitors, including a global mix of automakers, suppliers, tech startups from around the world, all showcasing and discussing the future of mobility.
It attracted nearly 40,000 auto and tech industry executives, designers, developers and analysts from 2,274 companies and 27 countries.
The partnership was formed as part of Techstars Mobility’s ongoing mission to connect the automotive and startup worlds by breaking down silos and forming partnerships. Watch our keynote from the show to learn about the program.
The 44 startup companies that attended were able to experience additional exposure through media coverage, events and networking including an Automotive and Startup Innovators reception hosted at the Techstars Mobility Office, in conjunction with Dykema, that attracted nearly 200 industry experts and entrepreneurs.
“It was an amazing way for our company to not only get access to top players in the automotive industry but to actually talk with the top-level decision makers.” — Jordan Warzecha, CEO & Co-Founder, Backstitch, Techstars Sprint Accelerator 2016
“Amazing opportunity to engage with leading automotive executives. We were amazed by the quality of the meetings.” — Stefanie Lemke, CEO & Co-Founder, GoKid, Techstars Mobility 2016
“It was a cream of the crop event. You can network more in four days at AutoMobili-D than in four years through other channels.” — John Mohyi, CEO & Co-Founder, Mohyi Labs
What’s Techstars Mobility?
Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit, focuses on the rapidly changing mobility and transportation industry. We’ve partnered with leading mobility corporations including Ford, Verizon, Dana, Honda, Munich Re, Michelin, next47. Over the past two years we have invested in 22 mobility startups from all over the world. Collectively, they are valued at over $100 million.
We are interested in startups changing the future of mobility and how people move around across all modes of transportation (including pedestrian). This encompasses a wide range of industries including automotive, transportation, smart city, energy, logistics, supply chain, and travel. Technologies include software and hardware using artificial intelligence, machine/deep learning, VR, AR, robotics, autonomous, electric, shared, and connected. Techstars is committed to operating this program in Detroit, the birthplace of mobility.
To apply for the 2017 Mobility program, click here.
Check out additional videos below from live sessions hosted at NAIAS featuring our alumni, corporate partners and mentors:
2017 Program Dates
- Jan 9 – Applications Open
- Apr 9 – Applications Close
- May 16 – 17 – Final Interviews
- May 22 – Notification of Selection
- Jul 24 – Program Starts
- Oct 18 – Demo day
Sign up for Office Hours / Events with us:
- Feb 7 | Ann Arbor / University of Michigan
- Feb 9 | Clemson University
- Feb 20 | Pittsburgh
- Feb 21 | Flint Kettering University
- Mar 1 – 2 | Chicago
- Mar 3 | Detroit
- Mar 6 – 7 | New York
- Mar 8 | Boston
- Mar 14 | Toronto / Waterloo
- Mar 15 – 17 | Boulder
- Mar 31 | Chicago
RSVP for our 2017 Webinars + Live Q&A:
Techstars welcomes next47 to Techstars Mobility and Techstars IoT as a corporate partner. next47 is Siemen’s new corporate venture unit focused on startups. Techstars partners with corporate leaders from around the world to help startups develop their businesses and deploy solutions as quickly as possible.
next47 joins PWC, SAP, GE and Verizon in Techstars IoT, which is based in New York City. Techstars Mobility is located in Detroit and its roster of partners includes Ford, Verizon, Honda, Dana, Munich RE, Michelin, and DTX. Entrepreneurs looking to work with these global industry leaders should apply today.
next47 will join the other partners in the programs in mentoring the programs’ entrepreneurs and will bring their wealth of experiences to the founders in each program.
next47, launched in October 2016, seeks to partner with innovative minds and turn big ideas into viable businesses. The dynamic next47 team acts as a venture capitalist, advisor and catalyst into Siemens for external start-ups and creative entrepreneurs, including Siemens employees. Its global presence in Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Tel Aviv – positions next47 close to the major innovation ecosystems to identify, shape and grow future businesses for Siemens. For more information see www.next47.com
Techstars Mobility has partnered with the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to bring 50 global startups to Detroit in January 2017 to showcase their innovative mobility technologies as part of AutoMobili-D, a dedicated startup expo.
This partnership is part of Techstars Mobility’s ongoing mission to connect the automotive and startup worlds by breaking down silos and forming partnerships.
The startups that will be participating come from all around the globe, including the U.S., Canada, Dubai, London and Portugal.
They will showcase a wide-range of technologies, ranging from artificial intelligence and machine learning, to autonomous and connected platforms, to infrastructure communications and security applications.
Out of the 50 participating startups, 19 are Techstars alumni.
Now in its 29th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, technologies, people and ideas that matter most – all from downtown Detroit, the heart of the automotive industry.
This is a pivotal time for the automotive industry, as tech and mobility are becoming more integrated. Through the AutoMobili-D showcase, this will be the first time an auto show will include a dedicated startup expo.
Techstars Mobility is the first North American accelerator focused on the future of transportation and mobility. Headquartered in downtown Detroit, Techstars Mobility has invested in 22 mobility startups from all around the world over the past 18 months. They are collectively valued at over $100 million.
Applications for Techstars Mobility 2017 program will be opening January 9th. Startups can apply here.
Here is a list of the Techstars companies that will be attending:
Acerta Systems Analytics (Mobility ‘16) – an enterprise platform that uses machine learning to detect anomalies and predict failures in real time for vehicles coming off the assembly line or being driven.
Algocian (Mobility ‘16) – an edge computing platform that uses deep learning to make every camera smart.
backstitch (Sprint ‘16) – helps organizations to deliver more relevant, accessible, and actionable communications to employees, clients, and partners.
Classics&Exotics (Mobility ‘15) – a new marketplace that connects owners of unique vehicles to pre-screened, highly qualified renters, allowing them to offset the high cost of ownership.
Donut Media (Mobility ‘16) – a digital media central for the next generation of automotive and motorsports enthusiasts.
Drive Spotter (Mobility ‘16) – a machine learning platform that trains human drivers and autonomous vehicles for enterprise fleets.
GoKid (Mobility ‘16) – a complete carpool solution for schools, teams and active families, helping parents to carpool with families they know and trust.
HAAS Alert (Mobility ‘16) – the mobile vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) platform that delivers preemptive notifications to motorists, informing them of the road ahead.
HERO App (Mobility ‘16) – a platform that reduces insurers’ liability from drunk driving by providing bars/restaurants with a mobile solution that incentivizes customers to get home safely
LaaSer (Atlanta ‘16) – solves the deadly problem that when you call 911 from a mobile device, they don’t know where you are.
LISNR (R/GA ‘15) – an ultrasonic inaudible technology; a communication protocol that sends data over audio.
My Dealer Service (Mobility ‘15) – empowers automotive service departments with mobile connectivity and workflow management, elevating efficiency and creating an unprecedented customer experience.
Pitstop (Mobility ‘15) – a predictive maintenance platform that uses big data to detect vehicle issues before they happen.
PolySync (Ventures) – products and services that simplify and accelerate the development, testing, and deployment of self-driving cars.
Revio (Mobility ‘15) – a telematics hardware platform that uses connected devices to make power sports safer and more secure.
Spatial (Mobility ‘16) – Artificial intelligence location platform and API that enables vehicles to answer location questions only a local would know using real time social data.
SPLT (Mobility ‘15) – a company focused on moving people efficiently and sustainably in urban and suburban areas. Its team is devoted to improving mobility in cities and reducing our collective carbon footprint with innovative transportation solutions.
Super Dispatch (Sprint ‘16) – a platform that enables automotive logistics companies to eliminate paperwork, manage loads, drivers and billing all in one place.
TEQ Charging, Inc. (IoT ‘16) – a company catalyzing the growth of the electric vehicle market by increasing the accessibility and affordability of charging infrastructure.
If you’re a developer with a great idea for a new mobility app…or if you’re an entrepreneur, with a great idea for a product, service or business that help solves mobility challenges — then Detroit wants you!
Ford Motor Company is kicking off GoDetroit, an innovation challenge designed to stimulate new ideas and find ways to better connect Detroit communities using innovative transportation and mobility solutions.
To help Detroit residents get access to the transit options they need, Ford is asking startups and app developers to create new apps that help residents get around efficiently and safely to all the places they need to go—school, work, healthcare appointments, entertainment venues, parks, and everything in between.
Startups can submit ideas designed to improve the safety, access and availability of transportation solutions throughout Detroit. This innovation challenge is designed to stimulate new ideas and find ways to better connect Detroit communities using innovative mobility solutions.
Semifinalists will then work with Ford mobility experts, Detroit stakeholders and me (Ted Serbinski, MD of Techstars Mobility) to refine submissions. Semifinalists will present their solutions to a panel of Ford experts and city representatives who will select six winners. Winners will receive cash rewards totaling $60,000 to bring their idea to life.
Thanks again to our partner, Ford, who is consistently finding new ways to engage and support the startup community in Detroit!
Community info sessions begin Wednesday, December 7. REGISTER HERE.
For more information, or to participate in the Go Detroit innovation challenge, visit GoDetroit.
At SPLT, we value different ideas from customers, partners, mentors and our own team. In the rideshare business, no idea is too bold or crazy, so we surround ourselves with idea generators. Based in Detroit, we benefit from the wealth of automotive and mobility knowledge here in the Motor City, home of the automobile.
Ted Serbinski, Managing Director of Techstars Mobility, forecasted early on that SPLT would pivot away from our B2C. We did pivot, moving to a more elegant and effective B2B model selling our carpool platform to enterprise customers. This saved our business.
Founders may believe they are susceptible to losing their company’s vision in the process of pivoting. For SPLT, this pivot ensured that we would see our vision come to life. In a B2B marketplace, we’ve carved a niche for ourselves to sell, grow and put a stake in an otherwise underserved market instead of grappling with Uber and Lyft in the consumer world.
This would not have been possible without mentorship.
In heeding the advice of our mentors, we have launched an entirely new vertical in Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, in partnership with Lyft. This came at the recommendation of a SPLT mentor.
We have learned the most by allowing others to dream with us.
We send out regular update emails to our Mentors, print and gift them SPLT t-shirts, and keep close communication, because to us, knowledge is power. We know that knowledge is our greatest asset. With all the talent in the world, we could not produce value without it.
Free Money Growth
Our mentors drove us to take a different route to raise capital for our company by applying to competitions of all types. These competitions led to PR opportunities, cash prizes, the refinement of our business model and pitch, and so much more. We have participated for 50 competitions, won 19 of them, and won over $225,000.
The relationships across the country and the world are also invaluable. They help us build our network, bridge global partnerships and gain PR.
In the last few months, we won The Startup Conference pitch competition, the Clean Energy Trust Pritzker Award worth $100,000, Techweek LAUNCH Detroit, and we competed in Google Demo Day!
Just this month, I had the incredible opportunity to speak at the United Nations to young leaders from around the world. Why? Because we have been hustling in sharing our story with the world, listening to mentors, and putting our team first.
Free money growth is available to all, and by listening to the right mentors, we have taken advantage of these opportunities. And that’s just the last few months. We have the business students at the University of Michigan in Detroit CompPrep to thank for accelerating this process and Jill Ford, the brainchild of the idea.
Select Likeminded First Customers
It was crucial that we found SPLT believers to be our initial corporate customers. The data collected from first customers may not be the best, but it’s most important to serve as proof when you’re making progress.
DTE Energy, Magna and Honda all saw our vision and our intended impact. They demonstrated interest in being a part of what we’re doing to take cars off the road, reduce carbon emissions and lead the charge in a new age of shared mobility.
Not only are they Techstars Corporate Sponsors and Mentors, they are businesses focused on innovation, mobility and the future.
In launching with our first partners, we make the value inherently two-sided. The customer gets a front row seat into the future of shared mobility and we are able to learn and grow with customers who want to see us succeed.
We are grateful to our mentors and the corporate sponsors of Techstars Mobility for helping us redefine our business to take us in a new direction.
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk more about the #TSFounder Life!
Get a head start on your own entrepreneurial journey. Apply to an accelerator program today!
Fall is in full-swing here at Techstars with the addition of 64 new companies! Techstars recently had seven Demo Days across the globe, including Berlin, Mobility in Detroit, Barclays New York, London, Techstars Retail in partnership with Target in Minneapolis, New York City and Chicago. Phew!
Here’s a quick round up of the highlights:
Berlin Class of 2016
Techstars Berlin’s second Demo Day, held at the iconic Kino International, showcased 10 companies from six different countries with products ranging from machine learning and AI, to SaaS and mobility.
Techstars Managing Director, Rob Johnson, opened the event and Executive Director, Greg Rogers, provided welcoming remarks. It was an exciting day to celebrate the 2016 class with investors, mentors and other founders from the Berlin startup community!
Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit Class of 2016
Techstars Mobility hosted its second annual demo day in downtown Detroit on September 8. It was a showcase of the growing collaboration between startups and the automotive industry.
Over 2500 attendees from 12 different countries watched as 12 startups pitched their businesses impacting the future of automotive and transportation. These startups were building businesses around autonomous, connected vehicle, shared services, mapping, and big data and analytic technologies. Three of the 12 companies announced partnerships with the program’s title sponsor, Ford Motor Company.
The entire demo day was live streamed and that video can be watched on YouTube here.
Managing Director, Ted Serbinski, announced that Techstars Mobility has brought two additional high-growth startups to Detroit: Mapbox and Polysync, the latter of which is a Techstars Ventures investment. These companies will be opening their Detroit offices out of the Techstars Mobility space, joining Oblong who opened their Detroit office last year.
Bob Caza, Director of Communications at the North American International Auto Show, expanded on Techstars Mobility mission to expose more startups to Detroit by announcing that we’re opening applications to bring 50+ mobility, automotive, and transportation startups to the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
To capture this growth of the startup community, coupled with the entrepreneurial resurgence in Detroit, we debuted a trailer for Long Haul Films who is developing the documentary Restarting the Motor City. This is a feature-length documentary about the creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who are reimagining Detroit. They are breaking free from the shackles of 20th-century thinking to create a new model for cities across the globe.
Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in New York Class of 2016
Techstars Barclays NYC’s second Demo Day Event was held at the Edison Ballroom in the heart of the Theater District. Ten cutting-edge FinTech companies showcased products solving problems in real estate, capital markets, security, banking and the freelance economy.
Joe McGrath, the CEO of Barclays Americas, opened the evening with a warm welcome and recognition of the impact of Barclays’ programs around the world, which have seen collective valuations rise 190% from their pre-accelerator valuations.
Greg Rogers, Executive Director at Techstars, introduced the companies to the 600+ attendees including investors, mentors, Techstars alumni and community members. Jenny Fielding, the Managing Director, closed the event with a special thank you to mentors and Jon Zanoff, Entrepreneur in Residence, for their tireless devotion to this class and role in these companies’ success.
London Class of 2016
Led by Max Kelly, the Managing Director of Techstars London, the 2016 program kicked off with new offices, a new fund and a great new class. Within the class, one-third have PhDs and there are 19 separate nationalities! The variety of industries is astonishing – from grease to graph databases, from aid to artificial intelligence.
Each company presented their pitches to a packed venue during Demo Day, which took place on September 20 at the Royal Institution in London.
It is always exciting to be in the front seat of this kind of innovation.
Techstars Retail, in partnership with Target Class of 2016
Techstars Retail’s first Demo Day, held at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, showcased eleven companies with products ranging from voice search, machine forecasting, visual registries and retail experience bots. More importantly, all these teams were able to demonstrate their accomplishments they achieved over the summer.
Techstars Managing Director, Ryan Broshar, welcomed almost 1,000 attendees then opened the evening with an inspiring message and fun facts about this year’s class. Target’s Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Casey Carl, shared welcoming remarks and reflected on his experience as a mentor. It was an exciting day to celebrate the 2016 class and the broader Twin Cities startup community!
New York City Class of 2016
For the 2016 class, Techstars NYC experimented with a new take on Demo Day. Rather than live pitches Managing Director, Alex Iskold, introduced Exclusive Investor Preview and Investor Only Demo Day.
As with our previous classes, this was a diverse group of founders solving a wide range of problems. In addition to six teams from NYC, we had teams from Rochester, Atlanta, San Francisco, two teams from Philadelphia, a team from the UK, a team from France and two teams from Canada. Of these 15 companies, five have women CEOs.
The new Demo Day format was a hit among founders and mentors, and aligns with the spirit of innovation at Techstars.
Chicago Class of 2016
Techstars Chicago’s seventh Demo Day, held at House of Blues in Chicago, showcased the latest ten startups selected from a pool of thousands of applicants. Companies ranged from a wearable hardware device enabling parents to keep track of their kids to enterprise and B2B software solutions, and showed both the diversity and high potential of the midwest startup ecosystem.
Techstars’ Managing Directors, Troy Henikoff and Brian Luerssen, along with Excelerate Labs co-founder, Sam Yagan, welcomed a packed house filled with notable investors and entrepreneurs. Chris Gladwin opened the afternoon with a keynote on the need for grit in operating his business to the recent 1.3 billion dollar sale of Cleversafe to IBM. It was an exciting day to celebrate the 2016 class and the broader Chicago startup community!
Get a head start on your own entrepreneurial journey. Apply to an accelerator program. Applications close on October 15th.
On Dec 11, 2014, Bill Ford introduced Techstars Mobility to the world: the first startup accelerator program in North America to focus on the future of mobility, automotive, and transportation. You can watch part of this announcement here. Since then, we’ve been on a mission to connect the automotive and startup worlds by breaking down silos, building partnerships and fostering community. And we’re doing this from downtown Detroit, the epicenter of the global automotive industry.
Techstars Mobility has invested in 22 mobility companies from all around the world. Three of these companies have relocated to Detroit: Lunar (class of 2015), SPLT (class of 2015), and joining them today, Drive Spotter (class of 2016). Combined, they have hired 23 team members and are working closely with Detroit companies including Ford, DTE Energy, Magna, Service.com, Matrix Human Services, COTS Detroit, and others.
Today, I’m also excited to announce we’ve brought two additional high-growth startups to Detroit: Mapbox and Polysync, the latter of which is a Techstars Ventures investment. These companies will be opening their Detroit offices out of the Techstars Mobility space, joining Oblong who opened their Detroit office last year.
One true testament of a great ecosystem is the commitment by companies to relocate and establish a base in that area. It is amazing to see six automotive mobility startups doing just that, all within the last 12 months. I’m convinced that continuing to showcase the burgeoning Detroit ecosystem will contribute to more and more startups relocating to Detroit.
We are continuing our mission to expose more startups to Detroit. Today, I’m excited to announce that we’re opening applications to bring 50+ mobility, automotive, and transportation startups to the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. If you are a startup and want to be part of this ground breaking event, apply here.
Connecting Startups & Automotive Companies
Techstars Mobility operates at the intersection of Detroit’s two biggest strengths: automotive dominance and entrepreneurial resurgence.
As we watch the shift from manufactured automotive vehicles to mobility services occur across the industry, we’re seeing stronger collaboration between startups and automotive companies.
Just look to CB Insights infographic depicting just that: All the major automotive OEMs are actively investing, acquiring, and partnering with startups. The momentum in 2016 is quite contagious. It’s incredible to see the alignment of Silicon Valley thinking and Detroit’s robust automotive know-how.
At Techstars Mobility, we’re helping to push this collaboration even further. We’ve partnered with 8 leading automotive and mobility corporations: Ford, Magna, Verizon, Dana, Honda, McDonald’s, Munich Re, and Michelin. The 22 startups that have gone through Techstars Mobility programs have developed deep and long lasting relationships with these corporations. On the flip slide, these corporations have learned a great deal about working with startups that operate in days instead of months to get things done. Do more faster indeed!
In addition to the relationships with these corporations, we brought in over 200 mentors from over 50 different automotive related companies– OEMs, suppliers, software companies, and investors. These mentors have come by our office in downtown Detroit to work with and mentor these startups.
What this has created is quite profound: Techstars Mobility operates the most active collaboration of automotive companies and startups, all from downtown Detroit.
The future of mobility is being built in Detroit.
Growth of Detroit’s Startup Community
Today is the 2nd Techstars Mobility Demo Day in downtown Detroit. With over 1,000 RSVPs again this year, Techstars Mobility is the first Techstars program ever to have back-to-back demo days with over 1,000 folks. With 275 investors in the audience and over 300 mentors, it’s incredible to watch the startup mentorship network blossoming around Detroit.
If you’d like to watch the fun, click here to watch the live stream. This will start at 2:30p ET and run to approximately 4:45p ET. If you missed the livestream, you can go to the live stream page to watch a video of the entire demo day.
This attendance record is a huge testament to the community around Detroit — both the startup and automotive communities. Demo Day is coming off the heels of Detroit’s first Startup Week, which had over 3,000 attendees, the largest ever for a launch of that program.
To capture this growth of the startup community, coupled with the entrepreneurial resurgence in Detroit, we’re working with Long Haul Films to develop the documentary Restarting the Motor City. This is a feature-length documentary about the creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who are reimagining Detroit. They are breaking free from the shackles of 20th-century thinking to create a new model for cities across the globe. We anticipate airing the full documentary sometime in 2017.
Two Classes of Successful Mobility Startups
Techstars Mobility has now completed two programs over the last 18 months. We’ve seen hundreds of applications from 52 countries, across 6 continents. For a more indepth look at the mobility and automotive trends we’ve seen, check out this blog post.
Our 2015 class of startups have now gone on to raise over $8M in funding. Lunar, Wise, Elegus, Pitstop, and SPLT have all raised significant seed-stage financings > $1M. The rest of the class is still operating and growing their businesses.
Our 2016 class of startups is on pace to double that of last year’s class. Investors this year have been quite aggressive. Most of the startups have ⅓ to ½ their round committed — some are even oversubscribed before they set foot on the stage at Demo Day — wow!
From the start of the program until now, the current 2016 class has experienced tremendous growth. To see that evolution, check out the company descriptions from 3 months ago and compare to where they are today:
- Acerta is an enterprise platform that uses machine learning to detect anomalies and predict failures in real time for automotive vehicles coming off the assembly line or being driven.
- Algocian is an edge computing platform that uses deep learning to make every camera smart.
- Braiq personalizes the ride experience in autonomous vehicles by teaching artificial intelligence how to better read human emotions.
- Cargo is the in-car marketplace for the ride-sharing economy. Drivers earn more money and improve their riders’ experience by providing essential goods on-the-go.
- Donut Media is the media company for the next generation of automotive enthusiasts.
- Drive Spotter is a machine learning platform that trains human drivers and autonomous vehicles for enterprise fleets.
- GoKid is a complete carpool solution for schools, teams, and active families, helping parents to carpool with families they know and trust.
- HAAS Alert is the mobile vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) platform that delivers preemptive notifications to motorists, informing them of the road ahead.
- Hero is an enterprise platform that reduces insurers’ liability from drunk driving by providing bars and restaurants with a mobile solution that incentivizes customers to get home safely.
- Rally is a marketplace connecting groups, event-goers, and commuters for crowdpowered transportation.
- Spatial is a location api that uses artificial intelligence to answer questions only a local would know.
- Voyhoy is a multi-modal booking platform that helps people save time and money traveling long distances across bus, plane, train, ferry, and rideshare in Latin America.
This blog post originally appeared on on Ted’s blog. To keep updated on Techstars Mobility and the growing intersection of Detroit’s automotive dominance and its entrepreneurial resurgence follow Ted on Twitter: @tedserbinski.
This blog post originally appeared on tedserbinski.com.
As we enter week six of Techstars Mobility, I thought it’d be fun to analyze the data from sourcing startups and reading applications since launching the 2016 Techstars Mobility program.
We read a ton of applications and met a lot of great founders from all around the world. These conversations led to fascinating insights and trends. Check out this infographic for the top three global trends in applications to Techstars Mobility.
The worldwide response for Techstars Mobility has blown us away.
Applications to Techstars Mobility came from 52 countries across 6 continents. This represented a 26% increase in international companies compared to 2015.
The Top 10 locations to apply to Techstars Mobility in 2016 were:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Canada and India [tied]
- Germany and Russia [tied]
- Mexico and Israel and France [tied]
When we drill down further, we see that only 19 startups from Michigan applied to Techstars Mobility. Put another way, we saw more applications from Eastern Europe than we did our own home state, the center of the automotive world!
While surprising in comparison, in my opinion, this is actually a great observation.
The demand of high quality automotive mobility startups wanting to be in Michigan is much greater than our own supply.
This is great signal that the rest of the world wants to build their future mobility solutions right here in Detroit. The entrepreneurial gold rush in Detroit is quite appealing.
Trends in Mobility Startup Applications
What’s most fascinating is the type of technologies and businesses these startups are building.
When a sector as hot as mobility and automotive emerges, we often see copycats and imitators emerge. Our data is insightful because it shows:
1. What areas of the automotive mobility industry have the lowest barriers to entry?
2. What problems still exist without widespread adoption of solutions?
3. What are the gaps in the automotive and mobility market that startups aren’t pursuing?
Looking at our 2016 applications, here were the most common themes in order:
1. Ride sharing — Getting from point to A to point B. Automobiles, vans, buses, bicycles from local, city-to-city, and even long distance. Lots of new and innovative models.
2. Customer Experience — Everything around the experience of car ownership and the entire lifecycle: buying/leasing -> maintenance -> selling.
3. Safety / Distracted Driving — Lots of innovative ideas in this space, for both consumer and enterprise fleet management.
4. Journey Planning / Navigation — There are still a lot of fundamental problems with planning trips, whether local, long distance, or international. Different modes of transportation and siloed data sources still make this process harder than it should be.
5. V2X / Connectivity / Urban Environments — The density in urban environments enables all sorts of new technology and businesses. Connecting vehicles to X things around the vehicle (other vehicles, parking, infrastructure, etc.). Maintaining connectivity when underground or blocked by tall buildings is of huge importance as well.
6. Personal Mobility — Fun new ways to get around from electric scooters to personal hyper loops!
7. Electric Vehicles — Electric vehicles radically transform the way vehicles are built and operate. Lots of innovative ideas in this sector.
8. Logistics / On Demand — Using big data and analytics to improve last mile delivery and logistics.
9. Trucking — The backbone of the American manufacturing economy, we saw a lot of innovative ideas tackling the trucking industry around efficiency and fleet management.
10. Manufacturing — Lightweighting and new technologies to improve the manufacturing of vehicles.
11. Drones — And just missing the top 10, but still on the list, the wonderful world of drones.
Insights and Takeaways
What we learned was just as fascinating as the conversations we had with founders throughout 2016.
- The lack of autonomous and self-driving startup applications was surprising but can easily be explained. Building a self-driving startup is hard. Very hard. From artificial intelligence to deep learning to sensor design, this is complex stuff. Fortunately, we were able to select a couple startups in this space including both Braiq and Algocian.
- Many startups are incorporating artificial intelligence and big data to tackle all aspects of transportation. Transportation is a complex system, it’s great to see that startups are using cutting edge technology to start to solve a variety of transportation problems.
- Startups were embracing Tesla as a platform. This was quite fascinating. Because of Telsa’s entirely different model in both building and selling their cars, startups were using this as an opportunity to exploit new business models. I expect we’ll see more of this when GM unveils their Bolt this fall.
- Following the electric vehicle trend, we noticed there were many startups building their own electric vehicles. When you go from a combustion engine to an electric engine, a lot of the mechanical complexity goes away. Startups were embracing building an electric vehicle as they would a software company. Similar in approach to how Telsa builds their vehicles. This is the edge of the oncoming personalization and 3D printed transportation vehicles that we will see much more of.
- Startups were also embracing new business models and transportation services targeted towards Millennial and Gen-Z owners. With the rise of the sharing economy and growing urbanization, new businesses will emerge at the intersection of these mega-trends.
- There is a huge demand from mobility and automotive startups that want to come to Detroit and build their companies here. This is evident through conversations with 100s of startups and 96% of applicants being outside the Michigan region. It’s quite reassuring that Techstars Mobility is on to something here by operating at the intersection of Detroit’s biggest strengths: its automotive dominance and its entrepreneurial resurgence.
The startups we chose for our 2016 class were primarily focused in these 4 mobility themes: connected, shared, autonomous and electric. Check out the full list of the 2016 Techstars Mobility companies here.
And if you’d like to attend our demo day on Sep 8, in downtown Detroit, and meet these companies, send me a note. We’re expecting over 1000 individuals from 50 different automotive and transportation companies and investment funds like we did for our 2015 demo day. See you there!
This blog post originally appeared on tedserbinski.com. To keep updated on Techstars Mobility and the growing intersection of Detroit’s automotive dominance and its entrepreneurial resurgence follow Ted on Twitter: @tedserbinski
Today, I’m excited to introduce the 12 companies that are part of the Techstars Mobility Class of 2016. These startup companies are building automotive mobility technologies and services that enable people and goods to move around more freely. On September 8, 2016, we will be hosting our second annual demo day, where we expect over 1,000 people to come see and meet these 12 startups.
The quality of teams and companies applying this year has been incredible. We saw a world-wide response with applications from 52 countries across 6 continents. There was a 44 percent increase in mobility-focused companies. Most impressive, 50 percent of the 2016 companies include founders with diverse backgrounds.
Techstars Mobility operates at the intersection of two of Detroit’s greatest strengths: its automotive dominance and entrepreneurial resurgence. We are on a mission to connect the startup and automotive worlds, by breaking down silos and working across the industry to build partnerships.
To do this, we’ve partnered with eight global corporations leading the automotive and transportation industries. These partners include Ford Motor Company, Magna International, Verizon, Dana Holding Corporation, Honda R&D Americas, McDonald’s, Munich Re, and Michelin. Additionally, over 150 mentors across 38 different automotive and transportation companies are active mentors in the program. And just recently, we partnered with the Detroit Auto Show to bring another 50+ mobility startups to Detroit in January 2017.
The 2016 class comes from all around the world, including Chile and Canada, building solutions in the autonomous, connected and shared vehicle mobility spaces. Here is the 2016 class:
Acerta: Machine-assisted anomaly detection & root cause analysis.
Algocian: State-of-the-art video analytics for security and autonomous vehicles.
Braiq: Personalizing the self-driving car.
Cargo: Data-driven general store for the ride-sharing economy.
Donut Media: Automotive enthusiast video content for Millennials and Gen Zs.
Drive Spotter: Real-time video search for fleet management.
GoKid: A complete carpool solution for busy families.
HAAS Alert: Connected car and autonomous driving notification platform that warns when emergency vehicles are approaching.
HERO App: Rewarding safe behavior and helping impaired drivers get home safely.
Rally: Community mobility platform that powers pop-up mass transit with high occupancy vehicles.
Spatial: Dynamic, human-driven layer of social intelligence for maps and navigation.
This blog post originally appeared on tedserbinski.com. To keep updated on Techstars Mobility and the growing intersection of Detroit’s automotive dominance and its entrepreneurial resurgence follow Ted on Twitter: @tedserbinski