Casting call for automotive’s top startups

Los Angeles Auto Show exposure gives startups an attentive audience

Published: June 12, 2016, 12:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:26 PM

BMW ePatrol Vision Concept

The Los Angeles Auto Show and AutoMobility LA will again declare the Top Ten Automotive Startups, and organizers are encouraging everybody to submit nominations.

Automobility LA started the competition for the newest and most innovative auto industry startups last year and it was a runaway success, so it is duplicating the contest again, leading up to the list’s release of the company’s with the greatest chance to shape the automotive, transportation and mobility sectors, during the trade-show lead-up to the 2016 LA show at the end of November. The top 10 will also be covered in a feature for the September Fortune magazine.

“The auto and tech industries are becoming increasingly intertwined. Connectivity is transforming the automobile and people's relationship to mobility altogether,” said LA Auto Show and AutoMobility LA President and CEO, Lisa Kaz. “We are looking for those innovative startups that are truly bridging the gap between auto and technology and we're excited to see what they bring.”

Nominations are now open (at and run through the end of July, then go into the hands of the AutoMobility LA Advisory Board, which is comprised of senior executives from Google, Lyft, NVIDIA, Pandora, Aeris Communications, Nokia Growth Partners, City of Los Angeles, Local Motors, Strategy Analytics, Elektrobit and Ellis and Associates.

In paring down the list, the judges are looking for vision, innovation, broad applicability, likelihood of adoption/success, execution and management, determination, existing customers, partners and endorsers, revenue potential, business model and demonstrable product.

The ten finalists will get exclusive access to Automobility LA (Nov. 14-17 at the Los Angeles Convention Center), featured in the all new Technology Pavilion, with exposure to an estimated 4,500 world media representatives and 20,000 of the auto industry’s most influential executives.

Last year’s Top Ten Automotive Startups included Elio Motors, High Mobility and HopSkipDrive, all of which ended up with significant investments.

“Being recognized as part of last year’s Top Ten Startups couldn't have come at a more perfect time for our company,” said Jerome Vassallo, VP Sales for Elio Motors (which created an aerodynamic, fuel-efficient, low-cost, 1-litre engine, 3-wheel motor vehicle). “Because of the exceptional opportunity given to us, we were able to unveil our new prototype in front of a global audience of thought leaders, decision makers and media. The LA Auto Show helped put our company one step closer to our goals and we look forward to continuing this momentum.”

Perhaps the most significant funding to come out of the show is the $500 million (US) investment from General Motors in the ride-sharing service Lyft in 2013.

More information on the competition and the trade exposition is available at