Startup consulting firm motormindz is attracting a well-known stable of auto industry veterans.
Jim O’Sullivan, former head of Mazda’s North American Operations, is the most recent to sign on with the Troy, Mich., company as a managing partner. He joins Ford’s former U.S. sales and marketing chief, John Felice; Don Johnson, a veteran of General Motors; and Ray Fisher, who worked at Chrysler for 33 years, in the position.
The former competitors — now retired — were brought together by motormindz CEO Jeff Van Dongen, who founded the company with early help from Fisher in 2014.
The company’s strategy, according to executives who spoke last week with Automotive News, is a hybrid of consulting and venture capital. It can consult with large dealership groups and automakers, while offering time and expertise to smaller startups in exchange for services or a stake in the company. It aims to connect the automakers with the startups and vice versa.
“We’re investing time instead of money, but really, the ultimate payoff for us is as that organization grows,” said Van Dongen, who spent 22 years working for auto-related vendors and agencies, including Autodata Solutions.