Ford, Magna and Verizon to fund 10 transportation related startups

Techstars-logo-2Ford, Magna International and Verizon Telematics have all decided to sponsor Techstars Mobility, Driven by Detroit, an accelerator program to foster innovative transportation-related startups, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Techstars, a Boulder, Colo.-based organization, is known for providing seed money and mentoring for promising startup technology companies.

The three companies have committed a total of $2 million in funding plus mentors and other resources to support the participating transportation startups.

“As society faces the increasing challenges of traffic congestion, crowded cities and poor infrastructure, we must reinvent the way we live and do business if we want to make a positive impact on future generations,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

“We’re seeing some of most exciting consumer products and services on market today coming from innovative startup companies. It will be great to be part of bringing that type of new thinking to Detroit and the automotive industry,” he said.

Each startup company will move to Detroit and take part in a three-month boot camp at a location yet to be determined. The startups will receive $120,000 in funding, intensive training and mentoring and help with customer acquisition and executive recruiting.

At the end of the three months, graduates get to pitch for funding to angel investors and venture capitalists at what’s billed as a Demo Day.

Several Michigan-based venture capital firms will provide guidance to participants.

Detroit-based Fontinalis Partners, Detroit Venture Partners and Ann Arbor-based Renaissance Venture Capital Fund will provide investment capital.

“We believe that Techstars will help create the next generation of companies that will drive the region forward,” Renaissance CEO Chris Rizik said, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. “We have long felt that Michigan is an excellent investment, and we’re pleased to invest our capital in a way that will help new Michigan companies grow and the region prosper.”

Applications will be accepted for the program through March 15 at techstars.com/program/locations/mobility.

The boot camp begins early in the summer and concludes Sept. 10. Techstars Mobility is scheduled to last for three years.