Techstars Mobility and 3 Portfolio Companies Make History at North American International Auto Show

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Today, for the first time in the show’s 100+ year history, three early-stage technology startups are making press announcements at the North American International Auto Show.

On January 15, 2018, three Techstars Mobility startups made history as the first early-stage startups to take the main press stage. Spatial announced a new partnership with Ford City Solutions, SEEVA announced $1.1M in investment, and Cargo announced the 1 millionth passenger engaged with their platform.

Today, for the first time in the show’s 100+ year history, three early-stage technology startups are making press announcements at the North American International Auto Show. These announcements are the start of the technology wave hitting the show. Over the next decade, I predict we’ll see far more tech announcements than new car announcements. Each of those startups went through the Techstars Mobility Accelerator program.

Additionally, as we head into our 4th year of Techstars Mobility, we’re now the longest running mobility startup accelerator program in the world.

Techstars Mobility drives innovation faster. We’ve accelerated 33 mobility startups from 6 different countries since June 2015. We accelerate mobility startups in four key areas:

  1. Building their network: Founders get to engage with mentors and demo day attendees from over 143 (and growing!) automotive and transportation OEMs, suppliers, and venture capital funds.

  2. Sourcing venture capital: Founders have raised over $45M since June 2015.

  3. Scaling their business: Founders learn tactics for acquiring customers, growing revenue, and writing a compelling pitch to communicate their business to drive growth.

  4. Growing as leaders: Founders and their team members going through our program learn new skills that help them be better people and drive more success in their business.

Below, I dive into the three announcements being made today by the startups Spatial, SEEVA, and Cargo.

Spatial partners with Ford City Solutions

Spatial uses real-time social media data to empower vehicles to answer questions only a local would know. They are based in Cincinnati, OH and were part of the Techstars Mobility Class of 2016.

Today, Spatial is announcing a new partnership with Ford City Solutions.

Founder and CEO, Lyden Foust, explains more:

How did Techstars Mobility help you build your network to secure partnerships?

During mentor madness, we connected with well over 100 experts and investors in the mobility ecosystem. Through this network, we landed our first partnership with Ford and have expanded the use of our dataset outside traditional automotive to any industry requiring location intelligence including urban planning, smart city, and retail site selection.

What is one key area you have grown as a leader since participating in Techstars Mobility?

Three months in the Techstars accelerator taught me how to take feedback, raise money, and seek to help first. In the months after the accelerator, I have been able to cultivate a deeper relationship with the mentors in the program. This gives entrepreneurs like myself an opportunity to learn from people who have high growth business experience and shortens the learning curve.

SEEVA raised $1.1M in venture funding

SEEVA is visibility for mobility. Their ecosystem of patented technologies cleans windshields, LED headlights, cameras, and sensors fast, so drivers don’t have to scrape or wipe. They are dually headquartered in Seattle and Detroit and were part of the Techstars Mobility Class of 2017.

Today, less than 3 months after completing Techstars Mobility, SEEVA is announcing $1.1M in seed funding led by Trucks Venture Capital.

Founder and CEO, Diane Lansinger, explains more:

How did Techstars Mobility help you source capital to fund your business?

Techstars introduced us to all of our investors, including Trucks VC, Dynamo VC, Expansion VC, Fontinalis Partners, and Right Side Capital.  Finding investors is not just about the capital, though; Techstars helped us work through the right investor outreach strategy for our stage and business opportunity, which enabled us to find excellent investor partners regarding technology fit, industry connections, and business know-how. When you’re a startup with a small team, being one phone call away from wise outside counsel with a vested interest in your success is key, and we are fortunate to have this support in our investor team.

What is one key area you have grown as a leader since participating in Techstars Mobility?

Through my participation in Techstars Mobility, I’ve grown significantly in my understanding of the forward-looking trends in the automotive mobility space. This understanding has enabled me as a CEO to sight the far horizon in our industry and be more strategic and effective in guiding our leadership team through our day-to-day decisions as we tackle SEEVA’s massive opportunity ahead. And I’ve also grown significantly in my ability to effectively promote this opportunity to investors, which directly enabled SEEVA to raise more than $1M in seed funding in less than three months after finishing the program.

Cargo announces 1M rideshare riders have engaged with their platform

Cargo is the leading provider of in-car goods and services for the rideshare economy. Their flagship product is a hardware and software-enabled in-car commerce platform that lets drivers earn additional income by distributing snacks, electronics, beauty, and personal care items to passengers. They are based in New York City and were part of the Techstars Mobility Class of 2016.

Today, Cargo is announcing that over 1M rideshare riders have engaged with their platform in the 7 months since launch.

Founder and CEO, Jeff Cripe, explains more:

How did Techstars Mobility help you scale your business?

Techstars is foundational. I cannot recommend Techstars highly enough to first-time founders, like me. They helped us get our legal house in order so we were investable for VCs. David Cohen’s fundraising tutorial vastly improved our success rate with VCs. Ted’s constant emphasis on measuring key metrics is now part of team Cargo’s DNA. Lastly, they’ve connected us with great talent to scale our startup. It’s a long list, but Techstars Mobility has been critical to our success.

What is one key area you have grown as a leader since participating in Techstars Mobility?

I’ve had to get comfortable giving away parts of the business I love to senior team members, like our rideshare partnerships and brand partnerships. Ultimately, I’ve realized that the most important things I can do for the company are to set a strategic vision everyone believes in, recruit and retain top talent, and keep the business capitalized.

Are you a founder that wants to grow your network, secure capital for your startup, and scale your business? Do you want to grow as a leader and be more successful? Subscribed to Ted’s blog and apply for the 2018 Techstars Mobility program (be sure to select Mobility 2018 as your first choice in the application).


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