Ford Motor Company is joining forces with Techstars to launch Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit — a startup business accelerator whose focus will be on innovative mobility and transportation solutions by creating a hub for transportation and mobility innovations in metro Detroit.
That’s a mouthful, so here’s the deal: the goal is to bring to market new technologies and approaches to commuting and parking that incorporate mobile devices, wireless connectivity, and cloud computing, all to facilitate the movement of people, goods, and services.
“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,” said 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.”
Techstars was founded in 2006 by a group of Boulder, Colorado-based businessmen who wished to bring together entrepreneurs for a three-month, boot camp-style immersive program to equip startups with the tools needed to launch their ideas. Techstars has since expanded to Boston, Seattle, New York, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago, and London.
Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit stakeholders will select the fledgleling startups, who will receive $120,000 in funding plus three months of training in business development, customer acquisition, and effective executive recruitment. They will also have access to guidance from top business mentors. The incubator series will run over a three-year period and will include 30 startup companies in total. All 30 teams will have the opportunity to present their ideas to investors and industry leaders.
The program has its origins with Bill Ford, who has been interested in the potential long-term consequences of growing gridlock around the world. He feels that if the gridlock is not nipped in the bud, society will be forced to confront stifled economic growth, transportation challenges, and compromised quality of life.
Joining Ford in the initiative is auto supplier Magna International Inc. and Verizon Telematics. Together, they are investing $2 million to support participating startups, plus adding to the mentor roster. Additionally, several Michigan-based venture capital firms will provide guidance to participants.
“We believe that Techstars will help create the next generation of companies that will drive the region forward,” said Renaissance Venture CEO Chris Rizik. “We have long felt Michigan is an excellent investment, and we’re pleased to invest our capital in a way that will help new Michigan companies grow and the region prosper.”