Skip to main content

Detroit mobility events provide opportunities for startups

By Posted on August 9, 2017
Blog, NextEnergy Blog

Amanda Roraff
V.P., Marketing & Communications

Last week, two autonomous vehicles travelled between Michigan and Canada as one of the first cross-border autonomous vehicle test pilots. The vehicles wrapped up their road trip by making a stop in Traverse City at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars, where officials from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Ontario Ministry of Transportation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to “promote and foster growth of connected and autonomous technology testing and deployment.”

Home to the iconic Motor City, Michigan is leveraging the assets that made us the leader of the automotive world, to become a leader in broader mobility industry. In 2016 Governor Snyder signed a package of bills to clear the way for autonomous technology, testing and deployment, and the State of Michigan launched the Planet M marketing campaign to amplify this and other efforts to support this fast-growing sector. Just over a year later, commitments have been made to expand the Planet M initiative to include business attraction services to existing and potential mobility companies.

These types of investments and commitments by the state and other stakeholders has led to increased activity that is proving to be beneficial for Michigan mobility startups. Beginning this September, there are over a dozen mobility-focused events scheduled in/around Detroit. Many of them offer startups access to complimentary or low-cost exhibit space, pitch events with monetary or other valuable prizes, high-profile product demonstrations, and speaking opportunities.

Below are just a few samples of upcoming mobility events that provide opportunities for startups:

Technology In Motion (TIM)
September 6-8
Cobo Center | Detroit

  • Sponsored by Crain Communications and MSX International, mobility startups may apply for the pitch event in one of four areas including: autonomous, mobility solutions, connectivity, digital consumer experience. Startups may also participate in the Startup Village, which has been discounted for NextEnergy partners.

Detroit Moves
September 7-9
Downtown Detroit

  • Sponsored by Quicken (in collaboration with TIM), mobility startups may showcase live demonstrations of their innovative technologies in an outdoor 3-day event that will take place in downtown Detroit. Shoot me an email if you’re interested in participating.

Life on Planet M (ITS Michigan Chapter Annual Meeting)
September 27
NextEnergy | Detroit

  • Sponsored by ITS Michigan Chapter and other stakeholders, this year’s event focus is on the future of mobility solutions enabled by Intelligent Transportation Systems, Open Innovation, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, cyber security, connectivity, shared use/ multi-modal mobility solutions, and the “built environment” to support it all – and its impact on our local economy and talent. Industry leaders will engage with other experts to learn about the mobility transformation’s taking place around Michigan.

Autonomy & Mobility Conference
October 25
NextEnergy | Detroit

  • This year’s event focus is on the critical challenges ahead in the rapidly emerging market for self-driving vehicles. Panel sessions will examine design, technology, regulatory, business issues and more. Sponsored by AutoBeat Daily and Gardner Business Media, this event will be a must-attend for company leaders looking for a condensed, in-depth read on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for personal transportation over the next 10 years.

TiECon Detroit
November 7-9
Downtown Detroit

  • This year’s event focus is “Ignite2Disrupt – Connected World – Connected Technologies” with a special focus on Mobility, HealthCare and Global Connectivity. The conference will provide an array of opportunities for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, top industry executives and thought leadersps to exchange ideas, explore new businesses, discuss emerging technologies, share growth strategies, and obtain insight from global business leaders, community leaders and worldwide experts.

NextChallenge: Smart Cities Pitch Day
December 6, 2017
NextEnergy | Detroit

  • Sponsored by Wells Fargo, DENSO and DTE Energy, this fast-paced pitch event will offer ten finalists the opportunity to pitch their solution in-person (with a presentation & video) to a panel of judges and invited guests, as well as attend a networking reception. The challenge will award up to $100K to demonstrate a smart city technology in a real-world setting.

For a small investment, these events can provide startups the access and exposure to potential clients and partners they need to succeed in Michigan’s growing mobility ecosystem.

 To stay up-to-date on all things mobility in Michigan, make sure to follow Planet M on Twitter @MichiganPlanetM and subscribe to their newsletter at

Sign Up to Receive Employment Opportunities