Thursday 7, January 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Ford-sponsored Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit today begins accepting applications from startups interested in developing future mobility solutions.

Up to 12 startups will receive $120,000 funding and three months of development training to develop ideas and solutions aligned with Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience as well as data and analytics.

“Working together, Techstars Mobility and Ford are supporting smart, ambitious inventors who are creating innovative solutions to change the way the world moves,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. “Some of today’s most innovative thinking is coming from startups, and we’re excited to bring this new thinking to Detroit and the auto industry.”

This startup class is asked to focus on innovations in four key areas:

  • Consumer experience;
  • Information technology and data analytics;
  • Multimodal trip integration, and
  • Flexible ownership and user experience

Applicants can apply at www.techstars/apply. Deadline for submissions is March 22. Participants will kick off June 13, with project support culminating Sept. 8.

Techstars Mobility, a mentorship-driven accelerator program, launched in 2015 to focus on next-generation mobility and transportation solutions. It is an offshoot of the Techstars global program, which launched in 2007 and has developed 660 companies that have raised $5 billion.

Techstars Mobility’s focus on Ford Smart Mobility stems from the vision of company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who has led the charge to bring attention to the potential long-term consequences of growing gridlock worldwide.

The Techstars Mobility consortium also includes several other global corporations, including Magna International, Verizon, Dana, Honda, McDonald’s, Munich Re and Michelin. Each has contributed program funding and mentorship.

The 2015 class included 10 startups, which have raised more than $3 million since completing the program. Seven of the companies are establishing a presence in metro Detroit to advance their innovations, including:

  • Cosmos: a pay-as-you-go mobile platform. Now in testing, the plan would give mobile phone customers the option to pay per day or per use for phone data – eliminating the need for pricey contracts
  • Elegus Technologies: a battery technology that would increase the energy density and safety of traditional batteries, enabling batteries to become smaller and hold more power. Developed during a four-year period, the team is testing the technology for production in the near future  

“The first year exceeded all expectations, with 10 amazing companies, a worldwide response, more than 300 participating mentors across Detroit and eight active corporate entities,” said Ted Serbinski, managing director, Techstars Mobility. “This was all brought together by the automotive dominance and entrepreneurial resurgence in Detroit. We’re excited to grow this program in 2016 and beyond.”