Attention All Startups: Have You Heard of GAMIC?

GAMIC, the Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge, is open to anyone, anywhere that has a new technology they’d like to get in front of automakers.

John McElroy, Columnist

June 6, 2024

3 Min Read
GAMIC provides marketplace for automotive industry technologies.

Back in the early days of the automobile, Detroit was a bubbling cauldron of ideas and innovation. It was the automotive equivalent of what Silicon Valley is today, an exciting mixture of creative engineers and inventors blended with a healthy dose of demanding investors. Things got done!

And yet, Detroit’s early automakers didn’t believe they had a lock on the best ideas. They were constantly searching out better ways of making cars, no matter where those ideas might come from. The legendary head of research at General Motors, Boss Kettering, was known to travel the country, checkbook in hand, buying up patents from independent inventors, always trying to stay a step ahead of his competitors.

These days, it’s hard for a startup to get its technology in front of an automaker. They face a myriad of obstacles, paperwork and, in some cases, a not-invented-here bias. To be fair, automakers have to be very careful about how they bring outside ideas inside. If it’s an concept they’re already working on, they’re very likely to get sued if an inventor claims they stole his or her idea.

But there’s one organization that is helping startups get their technology in front of automakers. It’s called GAMIC, or the Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge. If you’re familiar with the television program Shark Tank, think of this as a Shark Tank for automotive startups.

GAMIC is open to anyone, anywhere who has a new technology they’d like to get in front of automakers. All they have to do is apply at

GAMIC is staffed by retired automotive executives, mainly from the supplier industry, who want to help the startups at the same time they want to help the industry. They work on whittling down the list of entrants to the ones they think are the best, and then they hold a competition in April in Detroit during the SAE World Congress, where a blue ribbon panel of experts pick the winners.

Entrants come from all over the world, and the ones that make it to the final competition have very impressive ideas. For example, this year’s top winner, Natrion, developed a polymer that can convert existing EV batteries to solid state batteries, using the same manufacturing equipment that battery factories already have in place.

SkillReal, another winner, is an Israeli startup that uses low-cost cameras powered by artificial intelligence for sub-millimeter inspection systems in manufacturing processes.

Soteria developed a new kind of low-cost separator in EV batteries that can be made on the same equipment that makes paper.

Torev Motors came up with a double axial flux motor for EVs that uses significantly less rare earth minerals, yet is very efficient.

The finalists in this year’s GAMIC competition include AlGalCo’s breakthrough to use hydrogen as a fuel in internal-combustion engines. Banf, from South Korea, developed a tire sensor that provides real-time feedback on tire performance. NextDriver, from the Netherlands, has an app that coaches commercial drivers on how to reduce fuel consumption and increase safety. Rheom, from Texas, makes bio-based materials to replace leather, fabric and plastics in cars. TGO, from London, has touch-sensitive materials that allow for gesture control. And VePa Vertical Parking from Germany makes parking and charging towers with a very small footprint to free up space on city streets clogged with parked cars.

That’s just a list of this year’s winners and finalists. There’s a long list of previous winners and finalists with impressive technology. And many of them have landed business with automakers and suppliers.

GAMIC was founded in 2008 and it keeps building momentum every year. It provides guidance and advice to the startups to learn how to break into the auto industry and land contracts with automakers.

If you’re a startup that’s trying to figure out the next steps for your company, I would highly recommend getting in touch with GAMIC. And if you’re someone in the industry looking for innovative solutions to problems, I would recommend studying the list of winners and finalists, because they may have the answer you’re looking for.

About the Author(s)

John McElroy


John McElroy is the president of Blue Sky Productions, which produces “Autoline Daily” and “Autoline After Hours” on and the Autoline Network on YouTube. The podcast “The Industry” is available on most podcast platforms.

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like