The Tech Hub of The Midwest II

What does it mean to be the “Tech Hub of the Midwest?” Well, to quote a recent video about Detroit’s resurgence, “dream-chasers built Detroit.”

The Motor City was built on the backs of innovators who had big ideas and more importantly the will to see them through. Today is no different: Only Detroit-based innovators are now solving for our 21st century needs.

Let’s dive into a few tech companies that are changing the game.

Down To Ride

If you own a bicycle in a big city (like Detroit) you are probably familiar with group bike rides; the fun, healthy and safe way to explore your community. In fact, group rides have become so common there is now “an app for that.”

Launched in July 2020 ( ), Down to Ride (DTR) gives cyclists a platform to find and plan group rides with their friends. One giant leap further than social media, DTR provides organizers the ability to mobilize their riders beyond posting about it and praying their friends show up.

Recently, DTR partnered The League of American Bicyclists, bringing the app straight to their 200,000 member riders. That’s a lotta butts in saddles!

Airspace Link

Do you have a drone? Fine. Do you know somebody who has a drone? Well odds are they have heard of Airspace Link (or you need to tell them about it).

Started in Detroit, Airspace Link is a software company that, in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, has developed “highways in the sky,” providing drone operators with the clearance to fly safely and un-encroached below 400 feet. Their ‘airhub’ is the first Software as a Service (SaaS) to provide visibility across local, state and federal governments thus informing Airspace Link drone users of any risk areas.


Ok bear with me, it’s about to get a little … industrial. First off: are you familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT)? The ‘internet of things’ refers to physical objects that are imbedded with technology to boost their functionality by connecting them over the internet.

Guardhat is a Detroit-based (obviously) company that produces wearable safety equipment like construction helmets and vests. This equipment, already mandated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), is equipped with Guardhat’s patented technology that monitors its user’s health, location and work environment.

What makes this company so relevant today is that during the COVID-19 pandemic, when construction workers were ‘essential,’ their safety equipment’s location feature alerted workers when they failed to stay at a 6-foot social distance.


These Detroit-based tech companies are exciting because they speak to both the wants and needs of our community.

As we’ve discussed before, Detroit has always been the tech hub of Midwest. Hopefully though these examples shine light on how the Motor City continues to innovate beyond constant iterations of the horseless carriage.

(We get it guys; there is an SUV for everyone.)


Jeff Brown is the Business Program Manager for Opportunity Detroit. Ann Arbor raised, East Lansing and Ypsilanti schooled, Jeff has lived in Detroit since 2013.

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