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Innovator to Watch: Adastec’s Ali Peker

Dr. Ali U. Peker is the chief executive officer of Adastec Corp., a startup member of MICHauto’s Innovator Xchange. MICHauto spoke with Peker about Adastec, what makes the company unique, and what skillsets the next generation of entrepreneurs will need to succeed.

What makes your company or technology unique to the industry? 

ADASTEC is the most advanced company in the full-size bus automation market and the only one with public road deployments both in Europe and the U.S. ADASTEC provides factory-fitted, self-driving technology in cooperation with OEMs.

Why do you think Detroit is a great place to launch and grow a mobility or technology startup? 

Detroit and the state of Michigan, in general, are very focused and organized towards providing the best environment for mobility startups. The area is perfect for real-world deployments. The processes are designed to motivate startups. The testing grounds and high-quality Universities are within reach very open for partnerships. Organizations like DRP, Ann Arbor Spark, MICHauto, Michigan OFME work like an extension to your company and further enhance startups’ access to required resources.

Why do you think it is so important to connect startups with established OEMS, suppliers, and other consumers of innovation? 

Most deep technologies will require production expertise to make mass deployments possible. In today’s world, the productization of technologies requires a huge partnership network. A complete and scalable deployment is not possible without the ecosystem of OEMs and suppliers.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs interested in the mobility and technology industry? 

Focus on the partners and ecosystem as much as you focus on your product and technology. Sometimes ideas do not scale well when the environment is not ready for mass deployments. You can enhance your possibility of success by offloading some of your burden to partners and access to larger markets.

What unique skillsets are needed from the next generation of entrepreneurs? 

Technology and how to manage a company change at an even faster pace. You should accept that and never stop learning.