Disclosure: I work in the same building as some of the Ford Smart Mobility LLC staff, but I don’t work in the LLC and I certainly am not speaking for them here. In fact, I’m basically just regurgitating news reported elsewhere.
Design News has a writeup of a panel discussion including a pair of Ford executives, Patrick Ellis and Dave Kaminski.
According to the article, Ford has created Smart Mobility as a means of creating a more nimble organization that functions more like a startup. This is almost straight out of The Innovator’s Dilemma.
Ellis also explained why Ford Smart Mobility LLC is excited to work with startups:
Ellis said that Ford sees working with startups as a mutually beneficial arrangement. Larger companies like Ford get access to new, innovative technologies, while startups benefit from Ford’s infrastructure. “Everyone in Silicon Valley is an entrepreneur, everyone has an idea they think is great and can develop and change the world. Which is great — it’s motivation, it’s passion, which is something that you just can’t buy,” Ellis said. “Most of the startups are removed from the traditional OEMs or the Tier 1 suppliers and that’s really one of the things that gives us a brand new scope of opportunity. Instead of the traditional methods that we use to either learn about a technology or start developing it, we’re actually going Tier 2 or lower right in the beginning.” It’s in this space where Ellis said Ford is really finding opportunties to partner with and potentially invest in startups.
So if you are a startup working in the automotive space, Ford would like to work with you!