MRO Magazine

Ford, Techstars Select 12 Startups to Focus on Mobility Solutions as Part of 2016 Mentorship Program

By Business Wire News   


Ford Motor Company and Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit today introduce their newest class of startup businesses that will work this summer from Ford Field offices in downtown Detroit to develop future mobility solutions.

Twelve companies will participate in a three-month program focusing on transportation solutions, aligned with Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

“Techstars and Ford Motor Company are working to support smart, ambitious entrepreneurs who are developing innovative solutions for mobility issues,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. “Startups are bringing new energy and creative thinking to the fore, and we are pleased to introduce these new ideas to Detroit and the auto industry.”

The Techstars class of 2016 is:

  • Acerta provides machine-assisted anomaly detection and root-cause analysis
  • Algocian delivers state-of-the-art video analytics for security and autonomous vehicles
  • Braiq works to personalize the self-driving car
  • Cargo is a data-driven general store for the ride-sharing economy
  • Donut Media is a digital media company for millennial and Gen Z car enthusiasts
  • Drive Spotter offers real-time video search for fleet management
  • GoKid delivers complete carpool solutions for busy families
  • HAAS Alert is a connected notification platform that warns motorists when emergency vehicles are approaching
  • HERO is an app that rewards safe behavior and helps impaired drivers get home safely
  • Rally is a platform that allows for pop-up mass transit in high-occupancy vehicles
  • Spatial provides a dynamic, human-driven layer of social intelligence for maps and navigation
  • Voyhoy is a multimodal transportation booking platform in Latin America and Europe

Techstars Mobility is a mentorship-driven accelerator program launched in 2015 to focus on next-generation mobility solutions. This year, stakeholders reviewed nearly 500 applications from 52 countries across six continents – a 27 percent increase over 2015. Top themes from applicants include ride-sharing services and technologies, improving the car-ownership experience, and safety and autonomous-driving technologies.

Increasingly, applicants focused on personalizing electric vehicles using software or app development methods. Others concentrate on personal mobility for new eras of car owners including millennials, a generation that places a premium on standing out as opposed to fitting in. This encourages businesses to offer tools for greater self-reliance and purposefulness.

Each company will receive $120,000 in funding along with three months of intensive guidance on business development, customer acquisition and developing relationships within the auto industry, along with support from top business leaders.

The incoming class will focus on innovations that leverage emerging trends – connectivity, real-time data, on-demand services, and sharing and social platforms – in four key areas of interest to Ford:

• Consumer experience

• Information technology and data analytics

• Multimodal trip integration

• Flexible ownership and user experience

• Autonomous and safety technologies

Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit starts June 13 and culminates Sept. 8 with demo day at Detroit Opera House. Last year, more than 1,000 individuals from 50 different automotive organizations attended the inaugural Techstars Mobility demo day.

Building on a successful 2015 class

The 2015 graduating class has raised $5 million in funding to date. Among them is SPLT, which developed a ride-sharing app to promote customized carpooling, which DTE Energy and other companies are adopting. At the end of the 2015 program, SPLT chief executive and founder Anya Babbitt announced her company would move from New York City to Detroit’s Ford Field.

Meanwhile, the global Techstars program has graduated 745 companies since launching in 2007. Those startups have raised $2.2 billion.

“Our program is expanding and exceeding expectations with a growing worldwide response,” said Ted Serbinski, managing director, Techstars Mobility. “The quality of companies and technologies submitted by applicants this year is exceptional, making the selection process difficult. We are excited to help these innovators accelerate their businesses while bolstering the entrepreneurial resurgence in Detroit.”

In addition to Ford, the Techstars Mobility consortium includes several global corporations also focused on next-generation mobility solutions. Magna International, Verizon, Dana, Honda, McDonald’s, Munich Re and Michelin have all contributed funding and mentorship.

Expanding support for startup community

Ford is also committed to fostering the startup community through partnerships and donations.

Ford has acquired Detroit-based Livio, a software company working to deliver new in-car connectivity solutions. The automaker also donated a Transit Connect van to 2015 Techstars graduate Cosmos – now renamed Lunar.

“Startups are unburdened by the past and think with a cleaner sheet of paper,” said Bill Coughlin, president and CEO, Ford Global Technologies. “Great, storied companies can benefit from the exciting solutions scrappy startups offer. At the same time, Ford is interested in fostering and engaging this community so that automotive innovations can continue to grow and prosper.”

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 201,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit

About Techstars

Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of startup programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and Do More Faster™. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from early stage grassroots community development to more formal opportunities that provide education, experience, acceleration, funding, and beyond. For more information, visit

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Ford Motor Company
Alan Hall


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