3 Take Aways from Detroit’s First Hardware Tech Summit

PlanetM recently hosted their very first Hardware Tech Summit at the Lexus Velodrome in Midtown Detroit. The event hosted a multitude of Southeast Michigan entrepreneurs, a pitch competition, open panels with key players in the hardware space, and bike racing. The event was also held in the during the Detroit Startup Week – a five day celebration of entrepreneurship in the heart of the Motor City. Here were three top things take away from the summit:

Bollinger Motors

The summit kicked off with a guest appearance from Robert Bollinger, CEO of Bollinger Motors. If you don’t know about Bollinger Motors, well… you should.

Bollinger Motors, based in Ferndale, Michigan, is building a one of a kind, rugged, and highly capable sport utility electric truck. With production expected to begin in 2020, their Bollinger B1 truck is projected to have a range of over 200 miles on one charge. We can also expect the truck to have 668 ft-lbs of torque and 614 HP; that’s more than any of the standard gasoline trucks available today.

And for those of you that like to feel the wind (talking to you Jeep fans), the truck also features the ability to easily remove the glass, doors, and roof panels.

I know what you’re thinking: how is Bollinger Motors going to compete with the likes of Rivian or Tesla’s electric trucks? CEO Robert Bollinger stated that Bollinger Motors was not competing in the same space. Rather, the B1 truck is designed for a more rugged application and a very specific market niche; stripping the electric vehicle down to the bare essentials for a truly down to earth experience. The first public reveal of the Bollinger B1 truck prototype is expected September, 2019.


PlanetM’s Hardware Pitch competition awarded a $10,000 check to the startup Kuhmute, based out of Flint, Michigan. Kuhmute focuses on decluttering inner cities of unsightly scooters and electric bicycles by providing universal charge hubs for these mobility devices. The startup, led by two recent graduates of Kettering University, displayed an impressive slide deck with promising technology for future inner cities.

Centropolis Accelerator

One of the sponsors of the Hardware Tech Summit is the Centropolis Accelerator, located in Southfield Michigan. The mission of the accelerator is to fuel the growth of Southeast Michigan’s small manufacturers and hardware entrepreneurs by providing access to mentors, workshops, cutting-edge technologies, corporate connections, college students, events, workspace, and a collaborative community of peers. The accelerator has already gained significant traction with Michigan startups, including companies like Pretch, Steambox, and Make-Cup. Any Southeast Michigan entrepreneur should take a serious look at the Centropolis Accelerator as a way to launch their product.

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