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Ann Arbor Spark

August 12, 2021

Automotive Social Network, Throdle, Secures First Funding Round

  • Best of Boot Camp Prize Launches Startup into Broader Funding Community
  • Funding Provides Opportunity for Throdle to Participate in Michigan STEM Forward Internship Program

Throdle, an automotive enthusiast app, has successfully closed its first round of seed capital funding. Participation in Ann Arbor SPARK’s intensive Entrepreneur Boot Camp and winning the $25k Best of Boot Camp prize helped generate interest in the tech startup among the investment community. In addition to the prize underwritten by SPARKcapital, seed funds provided by Gibbs City Investments and experience-led Pathfinders Partners ultimately closed the round. The distinct interplay between Ann Arbor SPARK and the region’s startup ecosystem helped lay the foundation for Throdle’s strategic business partnership. 

Nadine Lee, Throdle founder and CEO, discussed the integral role Ann Arbor SPARK played in fostering key relationships within the venture capital (VC) community. “Through Boot Camp, I was assigned mentors who not only helped me in the discovery phase as I refined my product messaging but also facilitated pivotal introductions within the pipeline. The biggest benefit has been being introduced to the VC and angel community, along with the New Enterprise Forum.”

The funding was immediately implemented to help accelerate Thodle’s growth. The initial investment from the Boot Camp prize helped fund legal services for Throdle as the startup prepared to fundraise and close agreements in its first round. First-round funding has also allowed Throdle to hire two interns for quality assistance testing through the Michigan STEM Forward program, further strengthening the region’s talent ecosystem.

Ann Arbor SPARK in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) links students currently attending Michigan colleges annually into STEM-focused internships throughout Michigan. Through funding from MEDC, employers are eligible to receive up to $3000 per intern for wages. “I wouldn’t have been able to hire an intern at this stage of business growth without the Michigan STEM Forward funding. It’s truly a game-changing resource to be able to do that with the state”, said Nadine.

As Boot Camp winner, Throdle was also awarded consulting services with the University of Michigan professional development organization miLEAD. miLEAD gives U-M graduate and postdoc students the opportunity to work with Ann Arbor companies before graduation, giving them a taste of the innovative startups our ecosystem has to offer.

Margarita Hernandez, SPARK director of entrepreneurial services, spoke on Throdle’s early success. “Throdle has a bright future ahead and is uniquely positioned as a women-owned business in a predominantly male niche. With Boot Camp as a catalyst, it’s been exciting to witness a company that just started working with us experience so much accelerated growth.”

About Throdle

Throdle is a dedicated social networking app driving connections between car enthusiasts, influencers, collectors, and auto businesses. Car lovers can discover like-minded gearheads, explore car clubs, register for car events, share their auto skills and passion, and gain more followers and auto partnerships through their automotive content.

About miLEAD

miLEAD Consulting is a non-profit, generalist consulting organization of PhDs and postdocs from the University of Michigan. We aim to solve complex problems facing our local business partners while providing professional development opportunities for our consultant members. We are proud to have partnered with many companies in the Ann Arbor and greater Michigan community, and have completed nearly 70 projects since 2014 including customer discovery, market research, grant writing, and others. If you need solutions to your business needs, contact us at clientservices@milead.org for more information!

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction, and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.