Startup incubator names 10 companies receiving funding

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

“Techstars Mobility, Driven by Detroit” — a startup incubator backed by Ford Motor Co. and other partners — announced Thursday the first round of 10 companies it will fund.

Ford, Verizon Telematics and auto supplier Magna International Inc. are investing $2 million in Techstars, which will fund a total of 30 startups over the next three years. The incubator is based in downtown Detroit.

The 10 winning companies move to new offices in downtown Detroit starting next week and will stay through early September. Each startup receives up to $120,000 in funding, plus three months of intensive training in business development, customer acquisition and recruitment, as well as guidance from top business mentors, advisers and investors in mobility, Ford said in a statement.

“Techstars Mobility pays forward the startup legacy of Ford Motor Company by supporting these smart and ambitious inventors, developers and thinkers who are creating innovative solutions to a wide range of future mobility challenges,” Bill Ford, Ford’s executive chairman, said in a statement.

The winners are:

■Ansik, a Canadian-based automotive app-making company.

■CDL Warrior, Pennsylvania-based communication and productivity platform for the trucking industry that connects truck drivers to their supply chain partners and improves efficiency, visibility and compliance.

■Classics & Exotics, a Massachusetts-based company that lets exotic car enthusiasts offset their ownership costs by renting their cars to prescreened, highly qualified candidates.

■Cosmos Browser, a web browser that uses SMS to connect you to the internet without data or Wi-Fi.

■Elegus Technologies, a Detroit-based startup which is working on longer-lasting batteries.

■Gear Brake, a Kentucky-based company making a universal, easy-to-install brake light module that can detect when a vehicle is slowing and automatically illuminate the brake lights, reducing the risk of a rear-end collision.

■Motoroso, a site that lets car enthusiasts connect with each other to share photos, video projects, ask questions and follow various automotive brands.

■My Dealer Service, a web-based software application connecting automotive service departments to their customers using texts or email with real-time updates on the vehicle status throughout the repair process.

■SPLT, a social ride-sharing app designed to connect people with similar routes, share the fare, save money, reduce traffic and emissions and change the way people meet and move in cities around the world.

■WISE Systems, which provides real-time routing and analytic software to help on-demand delivery companies.

Ford said the entrepreneurs involved in the 10 companies are between the ages of 18 and 43 and have backgrounds in engineering, science and computers. Techstars received hundreds of applications from 42 countries.

Techstars is also funded by Dana Holding Corporation, Honda R&D Americas and McDonald’s.

Next year and in 2017, two more classes of 10 startup companies will be selected to come to Detroit and develop additional solutions for future mobility challenges.

Techstars was founded in Colorado in 2006 and has graduated about 400 companies that represent about $2 billion in total valuation. It has locations in other cities including Boston, Seattle, New York, Chicago, London, and San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

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