Techstars, one of the top-tier business accelerators in the U.S., took the long view when considering where to launch a new platform. What better place to establish a next-generation mobility and transportation program than the Motor City?
Techstars’ mission is to connect the automotive and start-up worlds. “The eco-system in Detroit has all the right ingredients for startups,” said Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars Mobilityin Detroit.
Those ingredients are plentiful, said Paul Riser, director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit, a business accelerator that partners with Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System and General Motors. “It all boils down to the density of assets in the automotive industry along with Michigan’s automotive history, universities, talent, capital and the dozens of connected vehicle projects going on, which show Michigan’s commitment to mobility,” he said.
Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark, a public-private economic development group for Washtenaw and Livingston counties, agreed. He said the state has the highest concentration of automotive research and development activity not only for domestic automakers but foreign companies, like Toyota and Hyundai, that are making vehicles for the U.S. and abroad.
“That research capability is further bolstered by universities. The University of Michiganis one of the leading research facilities in its field,” he said, noting the U-M Mobility Transformation Center. These capabilities, Krutko added, go beyond automotive to other mobility technologies as well.
On top of that, Riser said, “We also have a committed philanthropic community that’s invested in our success, and they recognize that mobility is a big part of that.”
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This story is sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.