PlanetM Landing Zone Amps up in First 90 Days, No Sign of Slowing Down

Logo for Planet M Landing Zone

Ninety days since the official launch of the PlanetM Landing Zone, efforts to attract and connect global mobility startups to the Detroit region are moving rapidly, with 18 global mobility startups, three Tier 1 OEM partners and a venture capital firm actively engaging at WeWork Merchant’s Row. The Chamber launched the PlanetM Landing Zone in October 2017, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Connection Point for Global Mobility Startups

This first-of-its-kind space creates a physical entry point for startups and businesses to share and collaborate to drive innovation in next-generation mobility.

Global startups such as DriveSmart, based out of Madrid, the first company in the world specializing in smart driving metrics; and DERQ, a Dubai-based MIT artificial intelligence spinoff, have set up a presence at the Landing Zone.

National startups are also engaging in the space including Mapbox, a location data company, and Spatial, the world’s first human-driven artificial intelligence platform and graduate of the Techstars Mobility accelerator program.

Ford Motor Company and two additional Tier 1 OEMs have signed on as industry partners to actively engage with member startup companies and explore their technology and potential partnerships. With the momentum and attention the Landing Zone has built up in the first 90 days, the opportunities to drive collaboration and innovation in Detroit position our region for strategic growth in the automotive, IT, and mobility sectors.

CES and North American International Auto Show Provide New Leads

From Las Vegas to Detroit, the Chamber started the new year engaging with global mobility and technology startups to promote the Detroit region’s automotive and mobility assets. The Chamber’s business attraction efforts from CES and the North American International Auto Show led to Mighty AI, a tech startup based out of Seattle, Wash. establishing a presence at the Landing Zone and a dozen other global startups considering memberships.

As membership continues to grow, the Landing Zone is actively exploring ways to connect startups to the resources they need to succeed in the region. In the next coming months, aside from networking and curated events, members will also be able to engage and connect through a mobile application, and will also have access to a catalog of legal, tax and human resources services to help grow their businesses.

For more information about the PlanetM Landing Zone or to engage, please visit www.planetmlandingzone.com.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Harris at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.

New ‘Driven’ Online Publication Offers One-Stop Shop to Tell Region’s Mobility Story

This week, the Detroit Regional Chamber and its regional economic development partners launched a new online publication, Driven, which is devoted to telling the story of the Detroit region’s mobility assets and leadership.

“Realizing the next-generation mobility story and our leadership in the industry was not one that was actively being told in a singular place, we came together collectively to highlight our strengths as a region,” said Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction for the Chamber. “We are working together to engage our local partners and the region’s mobility leaders to advance the narrative through the lens of how metro Detroit is leading the global race towards next-generation mobility.”

Publication partners include: Ann Arbor SPARK, city of Detroit, Destination Detroit, Detroit Regional Chamber, MICHauto, Macomb and Oakland counties, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s PlanetM initiative. Read and learn more about Driven at: www.DetroitDriven.us.

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.

New Workspace to Draw Mobility and High-Tech Auto Startups to Downtown Detroit

In an effort to attract and connect more mobility-focused startups and other emerging high-tech, automotive-focused companies, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and WeWork announced today the launch of the PlanetM Landing Zone. This first-of-its-kind space will serve as an environment where startups with connected and automated transportation technologies can connect with Detroit’s automotive and economic development network. Ford Motor Co. is the first automaker to join the partnership via its City Solutions team located on-site.

This initiative will be housed at WeWork’s Merchant’s Row location in Detroit. Located at 1449 Woodward Ave., it is part of a global shared workspace company with more than 160 locations in 52 cities and 16 countries. The PlanetM Landing Zone will occupy 40 to 50 workspaces with room to about 20 companies in the first year of operation. Currently, :DriveSmart, Spatial, SPLT and Sherpa Capital are tenants.

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. 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. Additionally, the PlanetM Landing Zone will provide connections to key automotive industry and service providers.

“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.

The need for a soft landing zone became more obvious after recent fact-finding missions to high-tech markets active in the automobility space like Silicon Valley, Israel and the Netherlands. Early-stage firms in these markets are eager to access the North American automotive industry that is centered in Detroit, but they need assistance with not only identifying workspace but also connecting to partners, customers, advisors, economic development services and capital. The PlanetM Landing Zone will be a key hub to cultivate and deliver these services.

“The goal is to create a center of gravity for emerging automotive technology companies with the ultimate objective of drawing these firms into the community on a permanent basis. MEDC’s PlanetM program is predicated on customer service, and this concept allows us to provide that in a meaningful way, right away,” said Jeff Mason, CEO for MEDC.

“We are excited to work with the MEDC and the Detroit Regional Chamber to launch this initiative and support mobility-focused startups in Detroit. These companies are innovating in the industry that the Motor City has fostered from the beginning. In addition to continuing to work closely with the city’s startup, business and civic leaders to drive Detroit forward, WeWork is excited that this initiative will further establish Detroit as a thriving community for creators,” said Megan Dodds, Midwest community director for WeWork.

“SPLT is thankful to the MEDC and Detroit Regional Chamber teams for making the space for mobility innovators to work, co-create and excel together. The PlanetM Landing Zone has given our team the room to grow,” said Anya Babbitt, CEO and founder of SPLT. “We are certain that this place will be the cornerstone to the larger movement in new mobility technologies and the future of Detroit. First Techstars, now the PlanetM Landing Zone. We can’t wait to continue our journey in Michigan and beyond.”

“The landing zone fills an unmet need in our ecosystem, supports business attraction efforts, and is a major step toward driving density of activity. We look forward to increased collaboration with the state and regional partners to position Detroit and Michigan as the premier destination for high-growth companies,” said Aaron Turk, senior executive of strategy and business development for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

The ideal company for the PlanetM Landing Zone is a startup, either domestic or international, interested in bringing connected or automated technology into the North American automotive ecosystem. To learn more, visit www.planetmlandingzone.com.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit www.detroitchamber.com.

About PlanetM

PlanetM represents Michigan’s unique and vast ecosystem, connecting resources and opportunities for its consortium of members. Made up of private industry, government and institutions of higher learning, participants in PlanetM share the common goal of leading the development of smart solutions that will change the way people and goods are transported across all modes of transportation. To learn more about how Michigan is leading the transportation revolution or to become a member, visit www.planetm.com.

About WeWork

WeWork is the platform for creators. We provide beautiful workspace, an inspiring community, and meaningful business services to hundreds of thousands of members around the world. From startups and freelancers to small businesses and large corporations, our community is united by a desire for our members to create meaningful work and lead meaningful lives—to be a part of something greater than ourselves. Co-founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York City in 2010, WeWork is a privately held company with over 2,000 employees.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 203,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.