Volkswagen Group of America Launches Technology Startup Accelerator at Plug and Play Tech Center

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Innovation Accelerator at Plug and Play Tech Center Seeking 10 Startups to Help Develop Next Generation of Vehicle Technology

Innovation is an integral part of Volkswagen Group’s long term product strategy and we take every opportunity to engage the brightest minds in technology to help define the future direction of automobiles.

Volkswagen Group of America Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) and Plug and Play Tech Center announced today the launch of the Volkswagen ERL Technology Accelerator Powered by Plug and Play. The new Silicon Valley-based program is designed to accelerate 10 select startups from various industries to help develop next-generation technologies that can be applied in the automotive domain.

Participating companies will receive access to hundreds of investors, corporations, and mentors within the Plug and Play network, exposure at Plug and Play events, regular educational seminars, and office space. The program is currently accepting applications from technology startups in several areas including; social media/recommendation engines, vehicle related mobile device integration, parking apps, detection apps, display/data integration, voice/sound recognition, and visual computing.

“Innovation is an integral part of Volkswagen Group’s long term product strategy and we take every opportunity to engage the brightest minds in technology to help define the future direction of automobiles,” said Peter Oel, Executive Director, Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Laboratory. “Our partnership with Plug and Play Tech Center provides an extraordinary platform for the most talented entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and around the country to bring forth innovation that will help us develop the most intelligent, connected vehicles of the future.”

“It takes great entrepreneurs who are passionate and intelligent to build products that could change our lives like Google has, iPhone has and Dropbox has,” says Plug and Play Tech Center Founder and CEO, Saeed Amidi. “We are looking for innovative products that can change the way we interact and function in the vehicle. As a third room, after home and office, we feel the functionality and the interaction between vehicle and human will enhance the driving experience.”

About the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Laboratory
Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) located in Belmont, California represents the Group’s applied research and development initiatives in North America. With a focus on advanced technology, the ERL’s mission is to develop innovations for future generations of vehicles with the goal of transferring technologies from many industries into the automotive domain. The ERL was established in August of 1998 with three employees and today has grown to become the Volkswagen Group’s largest research facility outside of Germany employing approximately 100 engineers, social scientists, researchers, and product designers.

About Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. It operates a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee and houses the U.S. operations of a worldwide family of distinguished and exciting brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen, as well as VW Credit, Inc. Founded in 1955, the company's headquarters are in Herndon, Virginia, and feature a lineup of vehicles that marry the science of engineering and the art of styling, with the goal of offering attractive, safe, and environmentally sound automobiles that are competitive and set world standards in their respective classes. The company has approximately 5,900 employees in the United States and sells its vehicles through a 950-strong dealer network.

About Plug and Play Tech Center
Plug and Play Tech Center is an accelerator specializing in growing technology startups. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Plug and Play’s global network includes over 300 tech startups, 180 investors and a community of leading Universities and Corporate partners. Since its founding in 2006, Plug and Play startups have raised over $1 Billion in funding. In 2011 alone, Plug and Play’s startups raised over $350 Million and went through M&A valued in excess of $500 Million. From unique industry networking events, to education-emersion programs, international programs, to M&A, Plug and Play has everything tech startups need to get organized, connect and grow.

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