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PlanetM Landing Zone Launches in Detroit, Will Draw Mobility and High-Tech Startups to the Region

In an effort to attract and connect more mobility-focused startups and other emerging high-tech, automotive-focused companies to the region, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and WeWork launched the PlanetM Landing Zone in Detroit last week.

This first-of-its-kind space will serve as an environment where startups with autonomous, connected, electric and shared transportation technologies can connect with Detroit’s automotive and economic development network. This initiative will be housed at WeWork’s Merchant’s Row shared workspace location in Detroit. The PlanetM Landing Zone will occupy 40 to 50 workspaces with room for about 20 companies in the first year of operation.

Selected companies will have access to WeWork locations globally and a direct connection to the MEDC through its PlanetM and Pure Michigan Business Connect program, which helps connect local and global purchasers to suppliers of Michigan goods and services. Additionally, the Chamber will house staff members on-site who will provide services to these firms, that can help connect them to and grow more quickly in the market.

The PlanetM Landing Zone is the region’s latest tool to foster innovative technology development and talent growth, key focus areas of Forward Detroit. Creating a welcoming environment and platform for mobility entrepreneurs to establish a presence in the Detroit region is also a 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do item.

“Our region must be overly competitive in next-generation mobility. To complete this ecosystem, we need to attract more tech pioneers and entrepreneurs to our region,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO for the Chamber.

Ford Motor Co. is the first automaker to join the partnership, while :DriveSmart, Spatial, SPLT and Sherpa Capital are currently tenants. Read coverage of the PlanetM Landing Zone opening in Crain’s Detroit Business, DBusiness and The Detroit News.