Techstars Mobility Launches with Office at Ford Field, New Partners

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business model works. “We’re focused on the enthusiast community, which is interested in the vehicle as a lifestyle,” he added. “We help them find things they’re aspiring to own.” This summer, the Silicon Valley-based company is working to acquire as many users as possible, as well as recruit more brands to make a profile on the site. (More than 200 brands are already on Motoroso.)

My Dealer Service: Denver, CO-based MDS offers automotive service departments a way to connect with customers and manage workflow online. It’s a tough nut to crack historically, and CEO Jon Rossi said the company differentiates itself by focusing on the customer. MDS research found that people want to communicate with their mechanics electronically, but they don’t want to be bombarded with marketing emails and texts. “We came up with a way to package workflow solutions to the dealership,” Rossi said. “And we take a passive, white-glove approach in our communications with the customer.”

MDS customers get real-time photos of the work being done on their cars as it progresses. If the mechanic suggests a new part or repair, MDS customers will get a picture of the affected area so they know they’re not being taken for a ride, and they have the ability to approve the suggested repair on the spot from their mobile devices.

WISE Systems: Headquartered in Boston, WISE Systems is beta-testing its logistics software, which provides real-time routing and analytics data to help on-demand delivery companies assign, schedule, and adjust service, taking care of customers more effectively.

SPLT: When I was in college in the pre-Internet 1990s, we had a huge board in the student union that displayed index cards with details and contact information belonging to people who were looking to share rides. Splitting Fares has taken that concept and transformed it into an easy-to-use app called SPLT with a beautifully uncluttered user interface. SPLT is designed to connect people traveling similar routes so they can share the taxi fare or cost of gas, save money, reduce traffic and emissions, and change the way people meet and move.

CEO Anya Babbitt says in New York City alone, where the company is based, 485,000 taxi rides are taken per day, and that figure doesn’t account for all people using Uber, Lyft, and other similar services. SPLT makes its money by charging a transaction fee equal to 10 percent of the fare, and it’s transportation agnostic, meaning it can be used whether you’re a taxi rider or the owner of a vehicle.

A SPLT user can link their profile to their Facebook or LinkedIn pages so their fellow riders can see who they’d be traveling with. Commuters can also use SPLT to find enough riders to use the HOV lanes. “It eliminates the creep factor,” Babbitt said. “Single people tell us it’s the best form of speed dating.”

Work on SPLT started last October, and things are already moving quickly. The company is currently in the middle of a private beta test, and it plans to launch publicly in conjunction with the Techstars Mobility demo day in September. “We intend to spark and be a part of the conversation about the future of transportation,” Babbitt said.

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Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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