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Startup Applications Now Open for 2018 AutoMobili-D Mobility Startup Expo in Detroit

6 min read
Startup Applications Now Open for 2018 AutoMobili-D Mobility Startup Expo in Detroit
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Renault-Nissan Alliance giving a keynote talk at the 2017 AutoMobili-D

AutoMobili-D is the perfect entry point for early-stage mobility startups to build up their networks with key influencers and decision-makers in the automotive mobility industry. The mobility startup expo at AutoMobili-D runs January 14-18, 2018 in downtown Detroit.

For the second year in a row, Techstars Mobility has partnered with the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to bring over 50 global startups to Detroit in January 2018 to showcase their innovative mobility technologies as part of AutoMobili-D, a dedicated mobility technology expo. This partnership is part of Techstars Mobility’s ongoing mission to connect the automotive mobility and startup worlds by breaking down silos and building partnerships.

Startup applications for the 2018 AutoMobili-D showcase are now open.

If you’re a startup, apply here by Oct 31st to secure your spot and a discount of $499 (price goes up to $999 November 4th).

Be part of NAIAS 2018 (aka the “Detroit Auto Show”), among the most prestigious automotive shows in the world and one of the largest media events in North America.

A quick 60-second video overview of AutoMobili-D. The inaugural launch of AutoMobili-D in 2017 featured more than 180 startups, companies, and organizations, 5,101 journalists from 61 countries, and over 40,000 industry attendees.

Improvements in 2018

The inaugural year for AutoMobili-D attracted 40,000 automotive and tech industry executives, designers, developers and analysts from 2,274 companies and 27 countries.

AutoMobili-D has expanded to 150,000 sq. ft. in 2018 to accommodate increased demand. This year startups can be found in the center of AutoMobili-D.

New in 2018, startups featured in the expo at AutoMobili-D will be eligible for matchmaking business-to-business meetingswith automakers, suppliers, venture capitalists, and other organizations.

For 2018, AutoMobili-D has a fresh layout, putting the startups at the center of the show

AutoMobili-D Mobility Advisory Board

Also new in 2018 is the formation of the Mobility Advisory Board for AutoMobili-D. This advisory board will be helping to curate startups at AutoMobili-D, speaking on panels and giving talks, and lending support to continue to build the innovation bridge between Detroit and Silicon Valley.

Mobility Investors

  • Reilly Brennan, General Partner, Trucks Venture Capital
  • Ernestine Fu, Partner, Alsop Louie Partners
  • Amy Gu, Managing Partner, Hemi Ventures
  • Mar Hershenson, Managing Partner, Pear VC
  • Mark Platshon, Managing Director, Icebreaker Ventures
  • Jim Scheinman, Founding Managing Partner, Maven Ventures
  • Ted Serbinski, Managing Director, Techstars Mobility
  • Chris Thomas, Founder and Partner, Fontinalis Partners
  • Marc Weiser, Managing Director, RPM Ventures

Mobility Startup Founders

  • Greta Cutulenco, CEO and Co-Founder, Acerta
  • Eric Gunderson, CEO, Mapbox
  • Josh Hartung, CEO and Co-Founder, PolySync
  • Diane Lansinger, CEO and Co-Founder, SEEVA
  • Daryn Nakhuda, CEO and Co-Founder, Mighty AI
  • Jake Sigal, CEO, Tome Software

Mobility Ecosystem

  • Sven Beiker, Managing Director and Founder, Silicon Valley Mobility
  • Harry Campbell, CEO and Founder, The Rideshare Guy
  • Mark de la Vergne, Chief of Mobility Innovation, City of Detroit
  • Liz Keen, Head of Brand and Communications, Sherpa Capital
  • Trevor Pawl, Group Vice President, Planet M, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Gary Silberg, Partner, National Sector Lead Partner for Automotive Industry, KPMG
  • Glenn Stevens, Executive Director, MICHauto and Vice President of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber

Startup Success Stories from 2017

Last year, during the inaugural AutoMobili-D, 50 startups participated from all around the globe, including the U.S., Canada, Dubai, London, and Portugal. The technologies included artificial intelligence and machine learning, to autonomous and connected platforms, to infrastructure communications and security applications.

Packed networking reception at the 2017 AutoMobili-D Startup Expo

One of those startups was Acerta, which offers an artificial intelligence platform for machine analytics, which provides OEMs and Tier-1 manufacturers with automatic and real-time malfunction detection and failure prediction. At AutoMobili-D, founder Greta Cutulenco met ZF Group, one of the largest global Tier-1 manufactures. ZF Group soon became a key customer, which helped Acerta raise a $2M investment seed round.

Nearly every other startup at AutoMobili-D told us they also received great customer leads and biz dev opportunities. Here’s some of the feedback we received from the founders of startups:

“It was an amazing way for our company to not only get access to top players in the automotive industry but to actually talk with the top-level decision makers.” — Jordan Warzecha, CEO & Co-Founder, Backstitch
“Amazing opportunity to engage with leading automotive executives. We were amazed by the quality of the meetings.” — Stefanie Lemke, CEO & Co-Founder, GoKid
“The show was really valuable for us because of the relationships we were able to foster. The BizDevDay meetings alone made the trip worthwhile.”  — Jon Harmer, COO & Co-Founder, LaaSer
“It was a cream of the crop event. You can network more in four days at AutoMobili-D than in four years through other channels.” — John Mohyi, CEO & Co-Founder, Mohyi Labs
“It was exactly what we needed.” — Shiva Bhardwaj, CEO & Founder, Pitstop
“Automobili-D is a great place to get attention and build relationships with OEMs, tier 1 suppliers, investors & other autotech founders.” — James Bellefeuille, Vugo
“Without a doubt one of the most important events to be a part of.” — Evan Saunders, URB-E
“It was simply amazing. Being surrounded by other startups and tech companies in the Auto Mobility space gave us a thorough understanding of what the future of the auto industry will look like.” — Mohsen Mohsenpour, ShiftRide

More About AutoMobili-D

Now in its 30th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious automotive shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, technologies, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place. The event is hosted in downtown Detroit, the heart of the automotive industry.

Panel at 2017 AutoMobili-D: Mobility Startups Working with Big Brands and Large Organizations

The inaugural launch of AutoMobili-D in 2017 featured more than 180 brands, ranging from automakers to suppliers, to tech startups as well as universities and government organizations. From John Krafcik debuting the fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica, to Carlos Ghosn providing insights into Nissan’s plans for a connected future, to Julia Steyn on Maven’s outlook on urban mobility as a service, these great industry leaders and many others took the stage and delivered more than 40 hours of mobility-focused discussions and announcements. 110 speakers representing 100 different companies spoke on a variety of talks and panels.

Mobility Startup Innovations Networking Reception at the Techstars Mobility Office

Featured automotive mobility exhibitors included:

  • Continental Corporation
  • Covisint
  • Delphi
  • Flex
  • General Motors
  • Hitachi Automotive Systems
  • Hyundai Motor America
  • IBM
  • Karma Automotive
  • Magna International
  • Nexteer Automotive
  • Nissan
  • Siemens
  • Toyota Motor North America
  • Visteon
  • Wind River by Intel
  • ZF Group

Key Dates Startups Need to Know

Application & Selection:

  • Nov 15, 2017: Application deadline - Startups can apply here
  • Dec 1, 2017: Startups notified of acceptance into AutoMobili-D


  • Jan 14 - 18, 2018: Startup expo at AutoMobili-D
  • Jan 14 - 16, 2018: Press days
  • Jan 15 - 17, 2018: Business development matchmaking days
  • Jan 17 - 18, 2018: Industry preview days, expecting over 40,000 industry executives and decision makers

This is a pivotal time for the automotive industry, as technology and mobility services are becoming integrated with manufactured steel. We’re witnessing the convergence of Detroit and Silicon Valley. Through the AutoMobili-D showcase, this will be the second-year an auto show has a dedicated startup expo showcasing the future of automotive mobility from downtown Detroit.

Detroit Auto Shownewsmobilitystartups

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