Seattle’s UIEvolution Opens Ann Arbor Office to Grow Auto Business

UIEvolution, based in Kirkland, WA, makes a technology platform for application delivery, branding, and marketing across screens found everywhere from connected cars to cruise ships. Earlier this month, it announced it has opened an office in Ann Arbor, MI, to service its automotive customers.

UIEvolution was established in 2000 as a mobile app company “way before the iPhone came about,” said Cami Zimmer, the company’s director of communications. It was sold to a Japanese gaming company before a group of former employees purchased it back in 2008, Zimmer said, which is when UIEvolution began to pursue to automotive market more intensely.

Its customers now include Toyota, Nissan, and Denso, as well as Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney, and AT&T. “A lot of what we do in the automotive industry we learned from working in smart phones and smart TVs,” Zimmer said.

UIEvolution offers cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions to connected devices, be they car, a digital sign on a cruise ship, or an in-room movie platform at a hotel. “We’re able to provide apps on any screen,” Zimmer said. The company has been supported by investors, including Intel Capital, Itochu, and Shaw Communications.

Derek Rohloff, vice president of automotive worldwide content and North American sales for UIEvolution, heads up the company’s Michigan office. Right now, there are just two employees there, but that number will likely increase, he said.

“Our major goal in the Detroit area is to expand beyond where we are and support our existing business,” Rohloff added. “We’ve wanted to open an office here for quite some time. The Big Three is here, and a lot of other OEMs have their technical centers here. We have a lot of places to visit.”

Zimmer said the company has been able to survive the ups and downs of the auto industry by diversifying into other areas, like cruise ships and hotels.

“We’ve been in this space quite a while, and we’ve seen a lot of companies come and go,” she said. “We understand that and work in other industries to survive the long development cycle in the auto industry.”

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