Revolutionizing Mobility: How Detroit's Mobility Lab is Pioneering the Future of Smart Cities

The importance of building mobility technology ecosystems is becoming increasingly apparent, as cities around the world struggle with issues of congestion, pollution, and accessibility. Detroit, once the epicenter of the American automobile industry, is now at the forefront of this movement, thanks in large part to the efforts of Chris Thomas and his team at the Detroit Mobility Lab.

Chris Thomas is a co-founder and partner at Assembly Ventures, which has offices in Detroit, Berlin, and Silicon Valley. He is also a board member at Metropolis and a board observer at ONE (Our Next Energy) and Sortera. Prior to Assembly Ventures, he co-founded the Detroit Mobility Lab and the Michigan Mobility Institute and acted as a senior advisor to mobility start-ups around the globe. Previous to this, Chris co-founded Fontinalis Partners and for over a decade worked to build it into one of the premier investment firms in next-generation mobility.

While at Fontinalis, he served as a board member for nuTonomy (acquired by Aptiv in October 2017) and Karamba Security, and as a board observer at ParkMe (acquired by INRIX in September 2015), Parkmobile (acquired by BMW in January 2018), Life360 (IPO in May 2019), Ouster (SPAC in December 2020) and SmartKargo. Prior to Fontinalis, Chris served in the U.S. Army as a communications officer in the U.S. and Iraq. Before joining the military, Chris worked as an investment banker at UBS within its Technology and Energy groups in San Francisco and New York.

Chris Thomas is a Co-Founder of the Detroit Mobility Lab, an entity dedicated to helping Detroit become one of the world’s foremost future mobility ecosystems. The Detroit Mobility Lab is focused on bringing together the key players in the mobility ecosystem, from entrepreneurs and investors to policymakers and community leaders. Their goal is to create a supportive environment that enables innovation and collaboration, with the ultimate aim of creating a more sustainable, equitable, and accessible mobility system.

The Detroit Mobility Lab is working on several initiatives to achieve this goal. One of the most notable is the Detroit Mobility Solutions Challenge, which is designed to identify and fund innovative solutions to mobility challenges in the city. The Challenge provides funding and support to entrepreneurs and startups working on solutions related to transportation, infrastructure, mobility services, and more.

In addition to the Detroit Mobility Solutions Challenge, the Detroit Mobility Lab is also working on a range of other initiatives, including the creation of a mobility data platform, the development of smart city technologies, and the promotion of public-private partnerships.

Chris Thomas’s work at the Detroit Mobility Lab has already had a significant impact on the city of Detroit and the broader mobility ecosystem. Through his leadership and vision, the Lab has become a hub of innovation and collaboration, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers to create a more sustainable, equitable, and accessible mobility system. As the world continues to grapple with mobility challenges, the Detroit Mobility Lab will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping the future of mobility.

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