PlanetM Landing Zone Opens In Downtown Detroit To Promote Auto Mobility Startups

DETROIT – There’s a new co-working space in downtown Detroit and this one is focused on connecting mobility- and auto-focused startups. PlanetM Landing Zone officially opened Thursday.

PlanetM is backed by the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Economic Development Corp. and WeWork, a global co-working space group with 160 locations in 52 cities and 16 countries. This 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.

“We are excited to work with the MEDC and the Detroit Regional Chamber to launch this initiative and support mobility-focused startups in Detroit,” said Megan Dodds, Midwest community director for WeWork. “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.”

This initiative will be housed at WeWork’s Merchant’s Row location in Detroit. Located at 1449 Woodward Ave. 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. Monthly fees start at $250.

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 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 http://www.planetmlandingzone.com