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:

Planet M launches mobility industry hub inside WeWork

Crain’s Detroit Business

Annalise Frank

October 5, 2017

Startups that want to dive into Detroit’s mobility industry can rent dedicated, subsidized space at WeWork’s Merchant’s Row location in downtown Detroit.

The Planet M Landing Zone, a 65-desk space funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Detroit Regional Chamber, offers a selection of startups and larger companies all of WeWork’s services along with resources tailored to the automated, shared and electric vehicle sectors.

The niche co-working space officially opens Thursday. It started testing operations in July, said Trevor Pawl, group vice president for Planet M, which started out last year as an MEDC campaign to boost Michigan’s standing as a mobility hub. It is now transitioning into a business development program with a mobility focus, Pawl said.

Long- or short-term users of the new space can rent desks or individual offices. They’ll also get access to networking events and matchmaking opportunities with the auto industry; legal, tax and automotive experts; help with economic development opportunities, and venture capital, said Justin Robinson, the chamber’s vice president of business attraction.

“How do we help secure the future of Michigan’s automotive industry for the next 100 years? The way we want to do that is to bring those global tech disruptors here,” Robinson said. “The way we think about this is as a hub … a physical entry point for these global startups.”

MEDC is contributing 75 percent of the space’s operational costs through Planet M’s allotted budget and the Detroit Regional Chamber is contributing the other 25 percent, Robinson said. The office space is provided at discounted rates through WeWork.

A 10-member team from the ride-sharing startup Splt are already renting space at the Landing Zone. Also on board are about five members of Ford Motor Co.’s City Solutions operations and about six people from the behavioral location data startup Spatial, which is based in Cincinnati.

General pricing is $100 per desk per month for the first six months and $200 per desk per month for months seven to 12. Ideally companies will remain in WeWork or in Southeast Michigan after the full year, Pawl said.

Planet M and the chamber are also seeking auto industry partners to participate in events and networking, and help introduce them to more mobility startups.

Mobility is a general term used to cover advanced technology-focused auto industry sectors such as autonomous vehicles, ride-share systems and electric vehicles. Southeast Michigan companies and the state have made efforts to draw mobility technology businesses to the region.

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Read the story on Crain’s Detroit Business here.