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Cintrifuse invests in Silicon Valley fund to spur connections, support for local startups


Cintrifuse’s Early Stage Capital Fund — also known as the Syndicate Fund — recently invested in a Silicon Valley venture fund called Bullpen Capital.
 
The details of the deal were not disclosed, but Bullpen represents the first Silicon Valley fund to receive an investment from Cintrifuse. As Cincinnati’s startup catalyst, the moves that Cintrifuse makes have major implications in terms of putting our local startup scene in line with others around the country and Silicon Valley at the national forefront.
 
"This is a big deal as it draws us closer to that startup epicenter of Silicon Valley," said Cintrifuse spokesman Eric Weissmann. "Actually, it's vice versa — drawing them closer to us and engagement with StartupCincy."
 
The Syndicate Fund is one of three legs of Cintrifuse’s organizational mission. By investing in venture funds around the country, Syndicate hopes to ensure reciprocal attention to Cincinnati’s most worthwhile projects and startup organizations.
 
Syndicate is funded by major local investors, including Procter & Gamble, Kroger and Western & Southern.
 
"(Startup life) is insular,” said Cintrifuse CEO Wendy Lea. “When you see other people are doing the same thing, it's important. And when they go to London, to San Francisco, to Berlin to call on a customer. And guess what? They'll call on that entrepreneur there. Now they know people there. How else would that have happened? A sterile LinkedIn connection? Relationships are the gas that drives a business."

 

Drees builds 200-home "agrihood" in Deerfield Township


Drees Homes has begun work on a model home at Elliot Farm, a 100-acre site in Deerfield Township that will eventually be home to a 200-unit agriculturally based community.
 
The so-called “agrihood” will feature community gardens, walking trails, a pool, parks, fishing lake and additional residential amenities.
 
“Our pre-sales are doing fantastic,” said Ray Neverovich, president of Drees’ Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky division. “This is a Drees flagship community.”
 
The land that Drees purchased from the Elliott family this summer for $2.5 million will be subdivided into three distinct neighborhoods: Legacy, Traditions and Heritage.
 
Legacy at Elliot Farm is the patio-home portion of the community, providing lawn care and snow maintenance with homes priced between $290,000 and $350,000.
 
Traditions will feature ranch-style homes with mostly two- and three-car front entry garages, priced between $346,000 and $435,000.
 
Finally, Heritage at Elliot Farm will include larger-scale homes with side-entry garages and a price range of $466,000 to $600,000.
 
Elliot Farm, unlike other neighboring agriculturally driven communities like Aberlin Springs by Pendragon Homes in Morrow, will not feature a full-fledged farm.
 
Once completed, the Elliot Farm development is expected to cost about $90 million.
 

Price Hill seeking applicants for storefront business expansion


Price Hill Will, the comprehensive community development corporation serving all three Price Hill neighborhoods, is looking for local entrepreneurs to apply for a new program to start or expand small businesses.
 
Successful completion of the program will include storefront space in Price Hill’s Warsaw Business District. Interested parties should start by applying here by Dec. 16.
 
Selected applicants will participate in a four-week workshop featuring information sessions and professional networking to help grow their business and compete with fellow entrepreneurs for the storefront location.
 
“The primary motivation is to start to reactivate the Warsaw Avenue business district,” said PHW spokesperson Sam McKinley.

Through the program’s culminating pitch competition, McKinley said, the strongest of those businesses will earn a “pop-up” storefront presence to further boost the recovering business district.

“We also want to do everything we can to set them up for success and, we hope, a long-term home in Price Hill," McKinley said.
 
PHW has worked with organizations like the East Price Hill Business Alliance, the West Price Hill Merchants Association, Mount St. Joseph University and the Incline Incubator to revitalize Glenway, Warsaw and Price avenues, the W. Eighth Street corridor and areas of Lower Price Hill. The organization’s goals include supporting longstanding businesses and bringing in new commercial ventures to reinvigorate the up-and-coming neighborhood.
 
To learn more about the program, contact phwopportunity@gmail.com or McKinley at sam@pricehillwill.org.
 

City's new web feature connects residents with real-time data


In a sneak-peek demonstration on Dec. 7, the City of Cincinnati unveiled its new interactive CincyInsights dashboard, which will allow the public access to real-time information on weather, emergency response, roadway projects and other residential issues.
 
The CincyInsights dashboard will be accessible 24/7 on the city’s new CincyInsights webpage, where any user can easily analyze and interact using geo-targeted filters for neighborhoods, as well as day/time, activity type and more.
 
This new public tool will feature real-time reports on crime, emergency response, potholes, registered vendors and blight reduction, plus other ongoing projects the city oversees.
 
City Manager Harry Black established five strategic goals for the project, including safer streets, growing economy, thriving and healthy neighborhoods, innovative government and fiscal sustainability and strategic investment.
 
Users will tap into continually updated datasets provided through the city’s existing Open Data Portal — the difference is that the new dashboards were designed to make provided data more visually appealing, conveniently accessible and user-friendly.
 
“Having this data at our fingertips will enable us to enhance City services and become a more efficient organization,” said Mayor John Cranley. “This is also a great way to utilize technology to increase transparency.”
 

WEL Enterprise receives $25,000 in funding from Bad Girl Ventures


On Dec. 6, the fall Bad Girl Ventures LAUNCH class graduated, with WEL Enterprise taking home $25,000 in funding.
 
“All the money is going entirely towards my pilot project, which has a total cost of $100,000,” said Katrina Eckard, CEO of WEL Enterprise. “So now I will be pursuing other funds to complete the total, then I will be able to immediately build the first WEL system for wastewater treatment and reclamation of its kind. I have an incredible team of experts in place who have been working with me in my research and development over that past couple of years so we are ready to go!”
 
BGV Executive Director Nancy Aichholz said that the selection committee faced a difficult decision in choosing a winner from the cohort but expressed her confidence in the entire class to secure capital and move forward with their businesses.

Douglas Craven, director of corporate advancement for the Economic Community Development Institute, who served on the selection committee, said that ECDI will offer financing to another cohort member, Chica Sport.
 
“We plan to utilize the funding from ECDI to dramatically increase our inventory of our flagship product, the Seat Hero, in order to grow our retail partnerships, as well as open our own retail space for all of our athletic accessories,” said Meredith Finn, president and owner of Chica Sport. “Thanks to BGV and ECDI, Chica Sport is ready for our next big step.”
 
The graduation event, which was held at Rhinegeist, was the culmination of a big year for BGV, starting with the implementation of its new curriculum: EXPLORE, LAUNCH and GROW. The organization also moved into its new office space in Covington, and held its first open-to-the-public pitch night in November.
 
“We expected 50 people, and we had over 80 in attendance from the startup and business community from both sides of the river,” said Angela Ozar, BGV program manager. “It was a strategic move for BGV going forward, and was great exposure for the cohort to gain recognition and connections from our network." 
 
The LAUNCH accelerator program focuses on established, women-owned businesses that are looking to expand. The fall 2016 cohort included Chica Sport, Cinfully Sweet, Dry Moon Pillowcases, SecondNurture and WEL Enterprise. BGV is accepting applications for the next LAUNCH class through Feb. 10.
 
“I learned so much that I am able to apply to my business right away and in the future,” Finn said. “I know I am part of the BGV family, and with that comes an invaluable network of fellow women entrepreneurs.”
 
LAUNCH cohort member Debra Mooney of Dry Moon Pillowcases completed the EXPLORE program earlier this year, and is helping BGV with the GROW program that will begin next year.
 
“BGV is as much about process as it is content,” Mooney said. “The network of motivated, energetic, creative, diverse and supportive women is terrific.”
 
Mooney is using her LAUNCH experience to move her product into local retail locations, supplementing her online operation. She will facilitate a GROW seminar, Entreleadership, Mastery and Moxie, on Jan. 18 at BGV’s Mentor Avenue offices.
 
"Our GROW program is designed to help all entrepreneurs further their knowledge and skills to grow their business,” Ozar said. “The program will feature a la carte monthly workshops on a topic relevant to entrepreneurs.”
 
The first BGV GROW workshop, a partnership with VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm, takes place Feb. 14 on HR & Risk Management, registration is required. The next EXPLORE class will begin in the spring.
 

Ludlow circus entrepreneur continues work on brewery concept


Paul Miller is the driving force behind Ludlow’s popular Circus Mojo — a training ground for circus arts — where Miller serves up performances and libations to patrons in the Ludlow Theatre building at 322 Elm St.

Circus Mojo has featured artists from 36 countries in an effort to put Ludlow on the global map for theater arts destinations.  
 
Seven years ago, Miller purchased the 68-year-old building, as well as a neighboring liquor distribution center. He has since used those spaces to headquarter his circus operations; he also sells beer.
 
Now, Miller will partner with Belgium native Matthew Vermael to combine a new brewery concept with the circus business under the appropriately named Bircus Brewery.
 
“The theater is a great venue, but you don’t make enough money selling other people’s beer,” Miller said.
 
The pair will draw upon Belgian-inspired brew recipes, and proceeds will support Circus Mojo’s Social Circus Fund, which assists Ludlow’s children, nursing homes and hospitals.
 
Miller was able to raise $150,000 for the project from a variety of sources, including an investment by Blue Oven Bakery. The grassroots bakery, which started in 2007, has been providing grains to local breweries and distilleries for many years and is now the largest investor to date in Bircus.

Bircus is the first brewing company in the United States and the first business in Kentucky to obtain Tier 1 of Regulation A+ with Securities and Exchange Commission. This designation allows anyone who lives in Indiana, Kentucky or Ohio to invest in Bircus, with a minimum investment of $1,000.

“What’s so neat about this is my butcher invested, my doctor invested, a lot of people are investing, and I’ve been really specific and strategic in raising this money,” he said. “I wanted to tie in the whole idea of giving the gift of beer this year — buy your dad a share in the brewery.”

The brewery has also be labeled a Qualified Small Business with the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, which qualifies it for the Angel Investment Act that requires a minimum investment of $10,000 to receive a 40 percent tax credit.

With $150,000 in investments and all of the necessary permits, Bircus has been given the green light to start brewing, and is currently searching for a brewmaster. They're accepting applications for a brewmaster with commercial experience who is open to creating recipes with Blue Oven's grains.
 

WEL Enterprises launches water reclamation system in Hamilton


WEL Enterprise started out with a mission to solve an environmental problem: water pollution. Its industrial water reclamation system that launched at Municipal Brew Works in Hamilton on Nov. 22 not only deals with pollution — it’s creating drinkable water and byproduct-based fertilizers, as well as reducing water usage and saving money.
 
“Breweries use a lot of water, about 10 gallons for every one gallon of beer,” said Katrina Eckard, WEL Enterprise CEO. “We can save at least half of the water they use and eliminate at least 95 percent of the pollutants in it, such as residue from ingredients and piping.”
 
Because those pollutants are neutralized and turned into a high-grade fertilizer, the brewery doesn’t have to pay a sewer surcharge, and the local water treatment facility doesn’t have to dispose of it. It's a win-win.
 
WEL Enterprise’s reclamation system is unique in that it addresses reclamation of the entire waste stream, not just water.
 
“Large industries that require a lot of water, like meat processing, paper mills and steel manufacturing, also generate a lot of waste,” Eckard said. “It takes two components to galvanize steel, water and hydrochloric acid. There’s up to 100,000 gallons of water going down the drain every day. We can recycle not only the water, but also pull the hydrochloric acid out of it and put it back into the process.”
 
Eckard already has a patent on the industrial segment of the reclamation system. WEL is currently trying to raise $100,000 to test the process at scale, including its software that monitors flow, optimizes the equipment and provides real-time data on usage and savings. Once the process is tested and tweaked, it will be adapted to other settings, including municipal services and even Third World villages.
 

Corporate and municipal clients are already expressing interest, including a barge-based desalination project.

WEL has been working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency on research and testing. The Ohio EPA has already certified WEL’s system as a verified system for reclamation. The EPA is also considering tax credits for industries adopting the system, similar to the Energy Star appliance credits available to homeowners.
 
 “We’ve been part of the Hamilton Mill incubator for two months and already have the brewery system designed,” Eckard said. “The progress has been unbelievable. I’m surprised by how much we’ve accomplished working here.”
 
“Katrina has done really well leveraging the expertise we have in Hamilton,” said Antony Seppi, director of operations at Hamilton Mill. “Our city-as-lab approach has been a great fit for her. She’s been able to work with the water treatment plant and establish a partnership with Municipal Brew Works.”
 
In addition to its work at Hamilton Mill, WEL Enterprises is firmly embedded in the Startup Cincy scene. The company is part of Bad Girl Ventures' current LAUNCH class, is collaborating with 2015 OCEAN graduate SEAREN on a pilot project at the Hamilton sewer district and has applied to participate in the first Pipeline H2O cohort.
 
Pipeline H2O, the water-focused accelerator program based at Hamilton Mill, has received over 60 applications from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. It will announce its inaugural class in a few weeks, and the class will begin in February.
 
“The quality of the applications was top notch,” Seppi said. “The challenge now is to identify the top nine or 10 startups that are addressing the major challenges related to water.”
 
“Cincinnati will be the Silicon Valley of global water technology, and I’m going to be a part of it,” Eckard added.
 

Cincinnati Reds ahead of curve as MLB pilot program allows iPads in dugout


For the first time, the 2015 MLB season saw the use of smartphones, tablets and laptops in team dugouts. The MLB only recently lifted its longstanding ban on such devices, and the Cincinnati Reds were quick to add technology back into their games.
 
The Reds were one of the first teams to embrace the technology, and participated in an MLB pilot program that initially only permitted teams to have PDFs on handheld devices. As the policy continues to unfold, teams like the Reds will be able to incorporate images and video into their dugout research and game-time coaching tools.
 
Baseball, of course, is a game of statistics, so the ability to conduct research and planning ahead of time, as well as on the spot, is already proving invaluable for many teams.
 
“Now it’s expanded a little bit where you can add video,” said Reds' Assistant General Manager Sam Grossman.

He hopes that eventually, the MLB will push those vital stats and more out to its publicly accessible stat tracker.
 
Accessing archived and real-time videos ahead of time can help coaches strategically prepare for essential decisions like positioning players, rotating pitchers and anticipating other teams’ defensive moves.
 
Earlier this year, the MLB inked a multi-year deal with Apple Inc. to equip every team in the league with iPad Pro tablets.

 

Port Authority launches REACH home rehab program in Walnut Hills


Community supporters and developers alike have homed in on Walnut Hills in recent years, and the results have been impressive. (See our ongoing coverage of Walnut Hills in our On the Ground series here.)
 
Those efforts will now receive a shot in the arm via a partnership between the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.
 
On Nov. 29, the first phase of construction began on three historic, vacant Walnut Hills homes located on Morgan Street, near the popular Five Points district. The homes will undergo complete renovations; subsequent project phases will see three more factory-constructed homes built and delivered to neighboring sites along Morgan.
 
These developments are made possible by the Port Authority’s Rehab Across Cincinnati and Hamilton County (REACH), a residential home-rehab program that has conducted similar projects in nearby Evanston.
 
“The Port Authority is thrilled to expand its successful REACH single-family home rehab program to Walnut Hills,” said the Port Authority's Executive Director Darin Hall. “The development of new, single-family homes and the complete renovation of several vacant homes will be another catalyst for change in the neighborhood and complement to all of the investment underway.”
 
Kevin Wright, executive director of the WHRF, said the group expects to break ground on more than $40 million in urban development in Walnut Hills over the next 12-18 months.
 
“This is another example of our focused investment strategy,” Wright said. “These (first) homes will be just a couple of blocks from several popular restaurants, bars and retailers that have come to Walnut Hills in the last couple of years, and the future looks even brighter.”

 

Brandery grad Soundstr nabs over $1 million in funding


Cincinnati-based music tech startup Soundstr has secured $1.1 million in seed financing from investors that include entertainment data and technology companies Gracenote and Accelerant, as well as unnamed angel investors.

Soundstr was founded by Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger, the former drummer for indie punk band Hawthorne Heights.
 
In May, Soundstr was awarded an initial investment from CincyTech, which the startup used to launch the production of its tablet-like devices.

The devices plug directly into a venue’s sound system. It uses music recognition technology to identify songs and catalog actual music usage, which in turn helps venues and other businesses to negotiate fairer licensing/usage fees that are charged by performing rights organizations.
 
“Disruption is an overused term, but in this case, it truly fits,” said CincyTech's director, Doug Groh. “We cannot imagine many areas more ready for disruption than this. We saw that the current methods of determining music licensing fees and royalty payments were both grossly unfair and highly inefficient. (Soundstr founder) Eron (Bucciarelli-Tieger) showed a deep understanding of all of the players involved — artists, venues, music publishers and fans — and their motivations.”
 
Soundstr is currently being used in several pilot venues nationally. The company is now taking pre-orders for a planned official launch in January 2017. Visit Soundstr's website for more information and a free trial.
 

MORTAR debuts Iron Chest Fund loans for entrepreneurs


On Nov. 15, MORTAR kicked off its Iron Chest Fund with a #100for100 campaign. The entrepreneurship hub is looking for 100 people to donate between $100-1,000 to help small business owners launch their ideas.
 
MORTAR was inspired by Mayor John Cranley’s State of the City speech this year, which highlighted the importance of having a vibrant and diverse ecosystem where everyone, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status, has a chance to participate.
 
The goal is to raise $100,000, but Iron Chest Fund’s Managing Director Derrick Braziel said he’s shooting for $300,000. The fund has already been pledged a $50,000 matching grant from Matt Butler, Signature Hardware’s president, by Jan. 1.
 
The fund will provide zero percent interest micro-loans of up to $10,000 to local entrepreneurs who typically wouldn’t be qualified for a loan through a traditional bank. Every potential recipient will take a financial literacy and money management course before receiving a loan.
 
Nine local entrepreneurs have already been chosen to receive loans through the Iron Chest Fund. Recipients include apparel companies, a men’s consignment shop and a paleo-friendly restaurant.
 
You can donate to the Iron Chest Fund here.
 
MORTAR is also having its seventh Life’s a Pitch-Mortar Pitch Night and Graduation at 6 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Lindner YMCA at 1425 Linn St., 45214. Admission is $5.
 

Engage Cincy now accepting applications for innovation and engagement grants


Engage Cincy, the community engagement innovation challenge sponsored by the city manager’s office, is now accepting applications for round two of the grant competition.
 
“A thriving, vibrant city requires continuous fostering of constructive engagement between people of diverse backgrounds, views and circumstance,” said City Manager Harry Black. “Our intention with this program is to encourage creative ideas that will have real and positive impact, furthering those priorities.”
 
Four Engage Cincy grants were awarded in 2016:“I’m very pleased with the outcome of those projects as they came to fruition over the past months,” Black said. “The potential for continuing and growing these projects is very encouraging, especially the Cincinnati Neighborhood Games, which proved to be a hit right out of the gate.”
 
The first year of the program was intentionally broad in scope, and the city received 188 applications — over three times what they expected. For round two of Engage Cincy, the city manager’s office has focused the guidelines on three areas where engagement and innovation could make a critical impact: healthy food access, civic connections through technology and improving livability.
 
“An ongoing challenge for Cincinnati, and for a lot of cities, is providing healthy, robust food options for people in all neighborhoods,” Black said. “Some real creativity is needed here because the profit margins are so thin for fresh food retailers. How do we ensure everybody, regardless of easy access to transportation/mobility, socioeconomic status, etc., has access to, and is encouraged to make, healthier food choices?”
 
Applicants who have an idea that can be implemented within the grant period are preferred, but grants can be used to cover ideation and development, in addition to activation expenses.
 
“We know there are a lot of very savvy people who are finding all kinds of new ways to use social media, meta-data, smart technologies, etc., to solve problems and to entertain,” Black said. ‘We are looking for creative ways to tie this together and better engage city government with people, and connect people with each other.”
 
The Engage Cincy submissions can be focused on a specific community or address the city as a whole.
 
“We want to enhance the quality of life for an area or a group of people,” Black said. “This could mean any number of things — it depends on the challenges someone may see in front of them that they want to positively impact. This could be blight, crime, education or a whole myriad of things. How can engagement move the needle on these serious issues?”
 
Applications will be accepted online through Dec. 11, and are open to individuals, nonprofit organizations and companies based in Cincinnati, although collaborative efforts are encouraged. A selection committee of city staff and community leaders will narrow down the finalists for further interviews over the winter. The winners, each receiving up to $10,000, will be announced at the Cincinnati Neighborhood Summit in March.
 
“Our program is unique and we feel it could act as a best practice for other cities looking for fresh ideas,” Black said. “We are excited to continue the program, and we encourage everyone out there to check out the website and work with your friends to submit an application.”
 

Startup community invited to Cincinnati's Startup Weekend


This fall’s Startup Weekend will begin with a pitch night on Nov. 18, and will culminate in a demo night on Nov. 22. The 54-hour event will bring together Cincinnati designers, developers, entrepreneurs and experts from all sectors of the startup community.
 
Anyone is welcome to pitch their idea and receive feedback from their peers. Once ideas are pitched, teams will form around the top ideas, which are determined by popular vote. The following three days will involve business model creation, coding, designing and market validation of the project.
 
The last step in the process is a demo, where the teams will present their projects to a panel of local entrepreneurial leaders, who will provide feedback.
 
The panel will be made up of five entrepreneurs from around Greater Cincinnati: Nancy Aichholz, executive director, BGV, Inc.; Tony Alexander, general manager, The Brandery; Miranda Millard, chaos coordinator and development assistant, MORTAR; Scott Weiss, CEO, OCEAN Accelerator; and JB Woodruff, program director, UpTech.
 
A number of speakers will present throughout the weekend, including Wendy Lea, CEO, Cintrifuse; Renee Murphy, research consultant, The Garage Group; Keith Romer, research consultant, The Garage Group; and Jake Rouse, cofounder and CEO, Braxton Brewing.
 
Teams will be able to seek advice from a group of coaches and mentors, including startup founders, designers, marketing specialists and business managers.
 
Registration is still open for Startup Weekend; tickets range from $75-99, with seats for Sunday’s demo night available free of charge.
 

Seventh annual Midwest UX Conference announces Cincinnati is 2017 host city


On Oct. 12-14, 2017, Cincinnati will host the seventh annual Midwest UX Conference. The regional conference celebrates the growing practice of user experience design, and since its inception in 2011, has been held in Columbus, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Louisville and Pittsburgh.
 
“The conference is a reflection of the host city and the UX community within it,” said Jessica Schomaker, Cincinnati MWUX chair. “It’s really refreshing to get to go to all of these cities and see the UX communities there.”
 
The three-day event will feature hands-on workshops, keynote speakers, city excursions and networking events. Keynotes will be held at Memorial Hall, workshops will be at Cintrifuse and other locations in Over-the-Rhine and the closing party will be held at the Contemporary Arts Center.
 
Day one of the conference is workshop-based. Attendees will be able to go into the sessions and meet with international industry leaders who will teach skills needed for UX design.
 
“I moved here not too long ago and took a UX job,” Schomaker said. “The UX community in Cincinnati is remarkable, and the quality of people and conversations I’ve had are remarkable. It would be surprising to people outside of the Midwest that these conversations and groups are here because the perception is that good design happens on the coast. But good design is happening in the Midwest too.”
 
She feels that with the renaissance of OTR and downtown, Cincinnati is in the middle of redefining itself. “It’s a reflection of what UX does — it improves user experience, just like Cincinnati is doing.”
 
The Midwest UX Conference is entirely volunteer-based. With each new host city, new conference chairs are chosen from the local UX community, which allows each city to put on the best conference possible for the region.
 
“We get to highlight things that are happening in the city and highlight our favorite places,” Schomaker said.
 
That being said, the conference is still looking for volunteers and sponsors to help shape the event. If you’re interested in either role, send an email to hello@midwestuxconference.com.  
 
Early bird tickets are on sale now for $350, and can be purchased here.
 

Local social intelligence startup forms partnership with Ford Motor Company


Spatial, a Cincinnati-based startup that launched less than a year ago, has recently partnered with Ford to bring its navigation technology to Ford’s cars. The partnership has allowed Spatial to relocate to Detroit, and to focus on taking its social intelligence technology and embed it into car GPS and navigation systems.
 
Earlier this year, 12 startups were chosen to be part of Techstars Mobility class, including Spatial. Launched in 2015, the mentorship-driven accelerator program focuses on next-gen mobility solutions.
 
Each startup received $120,000 in funding, plus three months of intensive guidance on business development, customer acquisition and developing relationships within the auto industry, as well as support from top business leaders. The class started June 13, and ended on Sept. 8 with a demo day at the Detroit Opera House.
 
From that experience, Spatial formed a relationship with Ford — the company chose three startups that are working on tech products for autonomous and connected cars. All of the startups were from Techstars Mobility’s second class: Cargo, HAAS Alert and Spatial.
 
The startups have been working on projects in key areas that are of interest to Ford: consumer experience; information technology and data analytics; multimodal trip integration; flexible ownership and user experience; and autonomous and safety technologies.
 
“We have multiple projects running with Ford currently, and each of them aligns with our mission: helping people navigate like a local, anywhere on Earth,” said Lyden Foust, CEO of Spatial.
 
The details of the specific projects are underwraps, but Foust says that Spatial’s contract with Ford has put momentum in the company.
 
“We’re starting to get a lot of inbound requests from customers working with autonomous cars and AI assistants, all the way to real estate websites that want to help their users understand an area and sort through home options quickly,” he said.
 
Fortune named Spatial one of the top 10 automotive startups of 2016. Read that article here.
 
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