Ford Developer Blog

Get your connected-car app rolling at Ford Europe's Startup Challenge!

Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Ford Partner Relations

Ever wonder what your connected-car solutions could do with unprecedented levels of connectivity, native vehicle data, direct OEM support and instant feedback from user focus-testing groups?

The 2017 #MakeitDriveable Startup Challenge, being held this year in Paris, France on October 25th and 26th, offers SYNC AppLink developers all that and more.

Applicants invited to the Startup Challenge will not only compete for up to €30,000 in cash and prizes, but get invaluable user feedback, developer resources and engineering support from Ford Europe. Andreas Brockers, Business Strategy Analyst – Connected Vehicles, explained to the Ford Developer Blog just how valuable competing can be.

"What we've said—at first jokingly, but now it's actually true—a lot of startups 'already won' when they attempt [Startup Challenge]," Brockers said. "It's like a short startup weekend, plus customer focus groups, plus engineer support to help make it a reality."

After focusing solely on mobility in 2016, this year's #MakeitDriveable Startup Challenge has four main tracks: The Multi-Connected Car, Mobility, Vehicle Data Monetization, and In-car Productivity. While he's excited about all four tracks, Brockers is especially interested to see how teams are able to innovate along the Multi-Connected Car and Vehicle Data tracks.

"It's very interesting to see how use cases can adapt now that the car is always connected. How can you utilize not only your smartphone's connection—with your apps and settings—while you're in the car; how does the use case change when you're not in the car, but still connected?"

An obvious example is locking and unlocking your car from your phone—but what can you do with fuel level data, or whether the windshield wipers are on? Ford mentors will be on-site at the Startup Challenge, ready to help you or your team realize any of the innovative solutions SYNC AppLink makes possible. Then, user focus-testing groups will provide immediate feedback—a key component to the challenge that Brockers is excited to watch play out.

"It will be very interesting to see how quickly and how fast those startups can adapt to direct customer feedback before their final presentation to the judges," he said. He also had advice for teams ready to apply for the Startup Challenge.

"Try to explain to us not only what your app is, or your idea, but also how they could benefit from AppLink," Brockers continued, "and how they could solve any of those problems or questions listed on the web page under the different tracks."

He stressed that even with all the prizes up for grabs, simply participating in the Startup Challenge can be a huge boost to any company or developer looking to market a solution to millions of drivers around the world.

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