DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. is collaborating with three 2016 Techstars Mobility startups—Cargo, Spatial and HAAS Alert—to pursue “next-generation” mobility solutions, including a concept where ride-share vehicles double as mini convenience stores.
The concept allows passengers to buy common items in the car “without having to make an extra stop,” Ford said.
Cargo Systems Inc., a New York-based company that developed the “in-vehicle general store,” helps ride-share drivers cater to passengers. Cargo kits, sent directly to ride-share drivers who purchase them, are stocked with products on-the-go passengers commonly want, such as snacks. Passengers benefit from the convenience of in-vehicle items, and drivers benefit from the supplemental income.
“By selling a few products every day, you can make over $3,000 per year and earn back the 20% your app takes,” the company touts on its website. “We're inventing a new ride-share experience, tailored to both the modern passenger and the modern driver.”
Spatial is a Cincinnati-based company that provides a dynamic, human-driven layer of social intelligence to create mapping and navigation. Its solution is an in-vehicle navigation system that uses human-driven, social-media data such as most-photographed areas and food-truck locations to build an interactive map.
Chicago-based HAAS Alert offers a connected notification platform that warns motorists when emergency vehicles are approaching.
The three companies were among 12 that Detroit-based automaker Ford selected for three-month mentorships, which culminated Techstars Demo Day at Detroit Opera House.
The program helps accelerate each business and fuels partnership opportunities across the automotive industry. Each received $120,000 in funding, along with intensive guidance on business development, customer acquisition, developing relationships within the auto industry, and support from top business leaders.
Techstars Mobility, a Ford-sponsored initiative now in its second year, furthers the automaker’s mission to enhance next-generation mobility solutions while helping startup companies get their footing in business, it said.