MEDC to exhibit at SXSW

LANSING – Officials of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will head to Austin, Texas this week for the annual South by Southwest Music, Film, and Interactive Conference and Festival (SXSW) with one goal in mind: relationship building.

In partnership with Michigan House, the state’s embassy to SXSW, and Inc. Founders Project, MEDC is looking to build off its strong 2018 results making connections between mobility stakeholders, to strengthen relationships, develop new connections and bring awareness to Michigan’s thriving business climate and mobility landscape. Representatives from PlanetM, MEDC’s mobility arm, and the business attraction team will be at SXSW this year to work on new connections and strengthen existing ones.

Said Seun Phillips, director of PlanetM: “Not only does our presence at SXSW further validate our dedication to this community of entrepreneurs, startups and established corporations alike, but it serves as a unique opportunity for those globally to join the conversation and learn more about the state’s robust mobility ecosystem and overall business climate.”

For its fifth consecutive year, Michigan House will foster collaboration between government, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and more at the annual conference. It provides MEDC’s business attraction and PlanetM partners and communities access to SXSW’s audience of leaders and early adopters in an authentically “Made in Michigan” environment.

Michigan House will host its Mobility Day on Saturday, March 9 with a full lineup of panel discussions addressing key industry topics and initiatives. All times are Central Standard.

  • Global Mobility Partnerships & Making the Future (11 a.m. – noon) – Revolutionary changes may be on the horizon for the mobility sector, but it’s going to take equally revolutionary global collaborations to get there.
    • Panelists: Matt Benson, Faurecia; Larissa Braun, Audi Innovation Research; Seun Phillips, PlanetM; Phillip Potkowski, P3 Group
  • Third Coast: Funding Ecosystem in Michigan (12:30 – 1:30 p.m.) – What does the climate for investment and risk look like once you get off the coasts and into the Midwest?
    • Panelists: Emily Heintz, EntryPoint; Dana Lowell, Faurecia; Jared Stasick, Detroit Venture Partners; Ann Marie Sastry, Amesite Inc.
  • Detroit: Adoption of the First Self-Driving Shuttle (3:30 – 4:30 p.m.) – The future of any city depends heavily on the technology upon which it was built. We’ll focus on the implementation of self-driving vehicles and the required infrastructure that led to them being accepted into the daily fabric of Detroit.
    • Panelists: Kevin Bopp, Bedrock Detroit; Mark de la Vergne, City of Detroit; Marc Hudson, Rocket Fiber; Alisyn Malek, May Mobility
  • Public/Private Collabs and the Future of Mobility (5 – 6:00 p.m.) – The next ten years are going to require massive efforts of coordination between government and private entities to deliver on the promise of changing mobility technologies.
    • Panelists: Will Foss, DERQ; Alex Keros, GM Maven; Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor Spark; Michele Mueller, MDOT

Panels will be steamed live from the PlanetM YouTube channel.

“SXSW is a unique platform that connects talent and companies to Michigan’s historic automotive landscape and leadership in new mobility solutions,” said Ted Velie, co-founder of Michigan House. “Our goal is to bridge that gap – providing opportunities for startups and talent to forge relationships with successful long-standing Michigan businesses. Doing so showcases firsthand how the state can be an ideal match from both a lifestyle and business perspective.”

In addition to Michigan House, MEDC is a sponsor of this year’s Inc. Founders Project at SXSW, a multi-platform initiative built to inspire and guide entrepreneurs to be the next wave of American Innovators.

As part of this collaboration, Inc. and MEDC are bringing forward a lineup of industry leaders, including Phillips, for a panel discussion addressing one of the most crucial topics hitting the industry today: the rise of mobility as a service (MaaS). Due to new technologies and ways of thinking about transportation, the way we travel is changing in profound ways. Whether it’s ride-sharing and e-hailing services, electric scooters, or bike sharing, the movement towards MaaS is gaining momentum. The panel, which will take place from 4:30-5:10 p.m. on Friday, March 8, will look at the impact MaaS has on mobility operators, communities and end users.

The Department of Talent and Economic Development is also partnering with Michigan House on a public-private partnerships to assist in hiring “new-collar” millennials and skilled-talent workers to fill employers’ talent pipelines, including those in mobility. More details on their efforts can be found here.

For more details on Michigan House at SXSW, please visit, or follow along on Twitter and Instagram.

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