The automotive world is changing like never before. In this tech-driven atmosphere, auto and mobility companies are racing to create the next big ideas, while high-level tech for automotive use requires significant investments and can be challenging to commercialize and bring to market. That’s where the Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge comes in, or GAMIC. GAMIC isn’t an investor, but rather a competition where the most exciting new auto and mobility startups vie for a finalist position and prize.
GAMIC was established in 2008 out of a partnership between SAE international and the Michigan Innovation Alliance as a competitive opportunity for automotive and mobility startups to gain attention and funding. Now, it’s a global competition headquartered in Michigan. GAMIC says their competition shortens the go-to-market process significantly by introducing startups to automakers and their leadership, while also reducing some of the screening that can lengthen investment processes.
Companies must meet a few key requirements to apply. Their revenue to date must be less than $1,500,000 and companies cannot have more than $2,500,000 in total funding. Companies must also have a physical or digital working proof of concept and a go-to-market business strategy in place.
“GAMIC winners all start with an outstanding idea, a charismatic team and preexisting protection for their product,” said Fabian Koark, Vice Chair of GAMIC. “I’m very excited to see what companies join this year’s competition.”
Applications for this year’s GAMIC competition opened September 1 and will be accepted up to November 18. After an initial group of quarter-final companies are chosen, they present a virtual pitch to judges and mentors between December 6 and January 10. If chosen to move forward, semi-finalists then present at an in-person GAMIC event at Lawrence Tech University or online on February 24. The companies selected as finalists then move on to the SAE International WCX in Detroit on April 4. Here, contestants deliver a final presentation and participate in a Q&A session with the judges.
Winners receive much more than a GAMIC title. Four top companies also receive access to $300,000 in funding, advice from professionals at the top of the industry, and access to rapid commercialization assistance. In other words, GAMIC winners receive a combination of investment, networking and mentorship to help move their companies and products forward.
Throughout the competition, companies are judged on several categories:
- Value of problem solved
- Product protection and patents
- Go to market plan
- Leadership team in place
- Ease or difficulty of technology integration
- How well GAMIC can help the company
2020’s winners included Kuhmute, a micro mobility charging and ride sharing infrastructure; ReJoule, an EV battery health and diagnostics company; Biolive, a company making sustainable bioplastics from olive pits; and Monk AI, a software interface used to detect vehicle damage with a smartphone.
“The judging usually produces four very different winners,” said Koark. “The automotive and mobility technology sector is so diverse, and it’s fascinating to see all the different avenues mobility is going toward. I also enjoy the new partnerships we can bring to GAMIC as an organization, as these are the companies that really help the smaller startups.”
GAMIC’s unique combination of a competition format, direct investment, mentorship from major companies and CEOs, and a home base in Michigan make it a prime opportunity for startup auto and mobility companies from around the world to learn and grow.