AutoVenture Forum to Play Matchmaker Between Promising Tech Companies and Big Automakers, Suppliers

David Bodde, a college professor who teaches entrepreneurship to engineers, believes the auto industry is going through “a quiet revolution”—one in which most of the innovation happens not at the big auto companies but at the tiered suppliers.

Bodde, an engineering professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, calls it a move “from a very vertically integrated innovation system to a much-more-open innovation system” in which promising young companies, filled with bright engineers, have the potential to move the auto industry forward faster than ever before.

A key challenge in realizing this vision, though, is finding ways for promising companies to simply get the attention of the major auto companies and suppliers, and put their ideas in front of them. This is especially true in fields that were once thought to be unrelated or tangential to the auto industry—such as microprocessors and software—but are now key to a growing number of electronic devices in automobiles.

That’s why Bodde is putting together what he is calling “the next logical step in automotive innovation,” a kind of matchmaking service for tech entrepreneurs and major automotive companies and suppliers, scheduled for Sept. 22 at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi, MI. He already has lined up major automakers and suppliers for participation in what he’s calling the AutoVenture Forum, including General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Delphi, and even Intel, which is working with automotive suppliers on operating systems for dashboard infotainment.

Now Bodde is looking for about 20 promising companies, by a July 16 application deadline, with whom the major players can talk and deal. He doesn’t want to bring “two guys tinkering in the garage … Next Page »

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