Now Open: IdeaMarket Transportation ChallengeBy Amanda Lewan on September 21st, 2015 /
Last week at Techonomy a brand new challenge was announced and is now open for submissions from local entrepreneurs. Got a great idea for improving transportation? You can now apply to receive up to $250,000 in investments from IdeakMarket for an innovative idea in transportation.
Called the Detroit Transportation Challenge, a local panel will help pick the winners by December 15th. Judges include Jill Ford Head of Entrepreneurship for the City of Detroit, Ted Serbinski of Techstars Mobility, Alison Malek from GM Ventures, and Brian Sadek of the Transportation Authority.
Nima Adelkhani of IdeaMarket shares some insights into why their platform headquartered in Silicon Valley is launching a Detroit focused challenge, and what they hope to see from entrepreneurs.
Why launch the transportation challenge in Detroit other other cities?
I have a personal connection to Detroit. I love Motown and the Lions. I heard Steve Case talk about the rise and fall of Midwestern Cities. I heard the story of Shinola and other entrepreneurs. I thought we could do something here. In the valley we’re in this bubble sometimes and we forget that there’s other places that could use innovation. We just came out here and started reaching out to people and saw interest.
Sometimes we’re focused on apps and raising money in the valley, and that whole rat race, but this is a country and we should all get together and support other places. Detroit is a big part of the history of transportation. It should be just left to figure things out. We should lend our support, money, and expertise to come and figure out a way to make things better.
What ideas do you hope to see as winners?
We hope that the winners are teams of about 2-3 people who have previously won a startup weekend or a hackathon. We hope they are in some sort of program, or are already working on something in transportation but are having trouble raising money.
How do you describe Detroit’s entrepreneurial scene here? What opportunities do you see?
I was really blown away and surprised by all of the cool things going on. I call this blue collar 2.0. We’re about to see a fusion of manufacturing and technology here. There’s so many things going on in Detroit. What’s entrepreneurship? Building something from scratch. It doesn’t have to always be tech. Going to Dally in the Alley and seeing 200-300 booths of people creating, that’s entrepreneurship. That’s the backbone of Detroit. It’s exciting to see so much activity.
How can our folks apply / learn details?
You can go to IdeaMarket.com. Answer a few questions. Submit a Youtube video. We do have an application and interview processes. We’re averaging about 5-6 applications a day since the launch last week, so that’s really cool to see too.