If you want lightning to strike in the business world, says Amanda Richie, put yourself in a place where lightning is likely to strike.
For Richie, that place is downtown Detroit’s PlanetM Landing Zone, a business development accelerator and co-working space for mobility startups, a partnership launched by the Detroit Regional Chamber and Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) last fall. PlanetM, an initiative of the MEDC promotes the development and deployment of mobility technology in the Detroit region.
Richie and her husband, Chance, operated their startup vehicle subscription service Mobiliti out of Rochester Hills, but occasionally held meetings at WeWork Merchant’s Row, where the Landing Zone is located. That’s where they got to know Landing Zone tenant Tarun Kajeepeta, who founded vehicle subscription service Condor Detroit.
Before long, connections made through PlanetM led to Mobiliti and Condor getting noticed, which furthered the companies’ interactions. In July, Mobiliti acquired Condor and moved its company headquarters to the Landing Zone, which is located in WeWork Merchants Row.
While both companies offered a similar concept, they approached it in different ways. The acquisition brings together the best of both worlds and better positions them for success, said Kajeepeta, who is now Mobiliti’s chief operating officer.
Moving into the Landing Zone brings a “ton of value” to the company through the positive collaboration that happens there, said Richie. And it helps that it’s located in Detroit.
“Downtown is just where you want to be right now,” she said. “It’s got a good buzz of resources as well as an emerging retail economy downtown ... It’s a very energizing place to pursue an ambitious new company.”
The Landing Zone fosters an entrepreneurial community as opposed to just providing office space, Kajeepeta said. He’s seen it attract companies from all over the world because of the resources and opportunity to collaborate.
“I think it’s a big differentiator for the state of Michigan, for the city of Detroit,” he said, “and hopefully a launchpad for not just businesses building a presence here, but inspiring entrepreneurs in the area and inspiring students in local universities to go pursue entrepreneurial paths and build great businesses.”
Mobiliti partners with car dealerships to offer month-to-month subscriptions to vehicles that include maintenance, insurance and roadside assistance starting at $549 per month for Michigan users. It also operates in Texas, New Jersey, and is getting ready to launch in Virginia.