After years of seemingly limitless investment in mobility startups seeking to disrupt the $7 trillion transportation industry, our promised future utopian vision of connected, autonomous, shared, electric — CASE — technologies seems to get further away each day. As a result, investment in early-stage startups focused on CASE technologies is plateauing. We shouldn't really be surprised — this is simply the hype cycle running its course as it has done with nearly every technological breakthrough of the past decades. Welcome to the trough of disillusionment.
We've seen this play out firsthand running the Honda Xcelerator since before "mobility startups" or the CASE acronym ever existed. We've had more than 1,000 startups walk through our doors, and we're still quite confident many of these startups will, in fact, change our world. But we've also realized it will happen differently than they, and we, had originally envisioned.
With that in mind, we're proposing a new way to think about the next wave of startups that will emerge to help CASE attain its full potential. It's a series of innovations and attributes arising from CASE's past and future that we call STEP — seamless, tangential, enabling, profitable.