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There’s no global database of auto clubs, certainly not one that’s multilingual. Creating this is one of the ongoing projects of new startup Throdle, an Ann Arbor SPARK Best of Bootcamp winner and new player in the automotive social media scene. Founder Nadine Lee says that when people connect with a car through a test drive or a track day, they often connect with a brand for life. Connecting potential buyers or new drivers with other people who already own a special vehicle, whether that’s a BMW or an EV, helps people discover a love of car culture.
Throdle is a community of “influencers, car enthusiasts, and auto businesses,” Lee explains. She launched an MVP in December 2020, achieved over 2,000 downloads of the social media app through the spring, and is launching a new version in August after learning a lot from Ann Arbor SPARK’s mentorship on how to build a company like Throdle. “When you hear advice from mentors who have built their own business, it really brings the advice to life and forces you to refine your message,” she laughs, reflecting on the process of refining her business model and pitch over and over while working with SPARK and the New Enterprise Forum.
Users on Throdle can use the platform to show off their garage and connect with other enthusiasts. Clubs give them a platform to engage members and find new interests.
“Events don’t get lost in the mainstream social media clutter,” Lee says. “I’ve talked to our users about using a niche social media network, and the number one reason they like Throdle is that it’s just about cars. They can spend hours scrolling and discovering new groups.”
Clubs are also user generated, so the network can really become anything users want it to be within the automotive space.
Next up? Bringing on national car clubs, which is already in process. Throdle also works with an automotive marketing company out of Las Vegas and will be hosting in-person events out of Vegas after the late summer launch.
If you’d like to try Throdle, you can download the Throdle app from the App store or Google Play store.
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