Transforming Techstars Mobility to Techstars Detroit

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Today I’m excited to announce a massive transformation to the Techstars Mobility program—now called Techstars Detroit. Startup applications open today for our 2019 accelerator program. We're also moving offices, welcoming a new corporate partner, and bringing on a new Program Manager. Read on for details.

Techstars Mobility is now Techstars Detroit

Today I’m excited to announce a massive transformation to the Techstars Mobility program—now called Techstars Detroit.

This marks the biggest change to the program since we launched it December 2014. Today we are:

  • Renaming the program to the Techstars Detroit Accelerator and expanding its focus to invest in even more incredible founders (we’re still looking for mobility too)

  • Opening startup applications today (startups click here to apply before April 7), looking worldwide for founders building the future of mobility, manufacturing, or IoT, or who will benefit from the unique competitive advantages of being immersed in the growing Detroit startup ecosystem

  • Welcoming new corporate partner Lear, who joins returning partners Ford, Honda, AAA, USAA, Nationwide, and PlanetM for the 2019 Detroit Accelerator program

  • Relocating our office and program to the Lear Innovation Center in downtown Detroit, allowing us to strengthen our program and community impact

  • Welcoming Kelly Kang as new Program Manager to co-run Techstars Detroit with myself

Techstars Mobility is now Techstars Detroit

The name change is a reflection of how the program has been investing since 2015 and a commitment to the Detroit startup ecosystem.

Since 2015, we have invested in 44 startups from 8 different countries. These startups are building transformational businesses across mobility, automotive, transportation, logistics, city infrastructure, manufacturing, IoT, and travel industries.

I defined mobility in this blog post as technologies and services that enable people and goods to move around more freely. This was a broad definition on purpose. We didn’t want to be too narrow in the types of startups we were looking for.

Over time though, it’s become clear that the word “mobility” means something very different depending on your context and industry. Instead of being broad, it was becoming too limiting. Too many startups were identifying as artificial intelligence or robotics, for example, instead of mobility. What once helped us find the best startups was now limiting our ability to attract and invest in the best founders.

The new name allows us to still continue investing in the best mobility founders around the world. But it also allows us to invest in founders in all of those ancillary supporting industries that Detroit happens to be great at too—like manufacturing and IoT.

The new name also allows us to support founders in entirely different industries that would benefit from the unique advantages of being in the Detroit ecosystem too. This is an exciting addition that I will dive into more detail in future blog posts.

Lear joins Detroit Consortium with Their Detroit Innovation Center

The evolution of Techstars Detroit is a direct reflection of the 16 corporate partners we’ve had the opportunity to work over the years, who span a variety of industries including automotive, manufacturing, insurance, communications, IoT, and more. In our fifth year, we welcome back Ford and Honda, who have been with this program since the start. We also welcome returning partners AAA, USAA, Nationwide, and PlanetM.

Today we welcome new corporate partner Lear, to the Techstars Detroit Accelerator consortium.

The partnership with Lear brings another great benefit: relocating our office and program to the Lear Innovation Center in downtown Detroit. This new office is a combination of the best elements of our previous offices at WeWork Detroit and Ford Field: an open, industrial floor plan, great amenities, in an ideal location in downtown Detroit. It’s a great way to showcase Detroit to the thousands of individuals we bring from around the world to Detroit to visit our program each year. We’re excited to continue to grow and support the greater Detroit startup ecosystem.

Our new home for Techstars Detroit: The Lear Innovation Center in downtown Detroit

Welcoming Kelly Kang as new Program Manager

Today I’m also excited to welcome Kelly Kang as the new Program Manager for Techstars Detroit. 2019 represents a huge transformation of the program. Kelly and I plan to rebuild and grow the program substantially in 2019. We’ll be expanding our Detroit network engagement and community impact, along with bringing a refreshed group of activities to further engage and support the Detroit startup community.

Kelly takes over the wonderful foundation that has been built by Lisa Seymour, the Program Director for the first four Mobility programs. Lisa has been an amazing colleague building the program into what is today. I’m sad to see her leave but excited that she’s taking her skillset with her to help spin up programs globally for Techstars—I wish her the best of luck in this new endeavor!

Calling All Startups to Detroit for 2019

We are looking worldwide for founders building the future of mobility, manufacturing, and IoT that would benefit from being immersed in the Detroit ecosystem for 90 days. Startups may be building solutions across the mobility, automotive, transportation, logistics, city infrastructure, manufacturing, IoT, or travel industries. Startups may also be in other industries but benefit from the unique competitive advantages of being immersed in Detroit.

If you want to learn more, schedule office hours to meet the Techstars Detroit team here.

If you are a startup and ready to apply, click here to fill out an application before April 7.


Read this next:

Announcing the 2019 Mobility Startup Pitch Competition Finalists at AutoMobili-D →