Bill Ford Jr. launches fund to ease traffic congestion

By Laurie Bennett

June 29, 2010 at 7:40am

Ford and Booth - two family names that have dominated Michigan business for generations - have joined forces for an unexpected project.

Bill Ford Jr. and Ralph Booth II, together with Mark Schulz, have launched Fontinalis Partners, a venture fund that aims to reduce traffic congestion.

“You are really seeing the limits to congestion in big cities,” Ford told Fortune. “And as we looked harder at the problem, it was clear there were lots of interesting technologies and applications that I thought could address this issue.”

William Clay Ford Jr.
William Clay Ford Jr.

Fortune notes that Fontinalis (Latin for “brook trout”) will invest in companies that use data to make drivers, cyclists and pedestrians smarter. The fund’s first investment is in Parkmobile, a company that has developed a smartphone app that helps drivers find parking spots.

Ford, of course, is chairman of Ford Motor and the great-grandson of Henry Ford. Booth comes from a family of newsmen whose holdings have included the Detroit News.

Mark Schulz is former president of Ford Motor’s international operations.

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