German sports car manufacturer Porsche announced that it is establishing an innovation office in Tel Aviv “to guarantee access to technology trends and talent.”
A statement released June 1 by the automaker reveals that as the first step, Porsche has invested “an eight-figure sum” in Israel’s Magma and Grove venture capital funds, and that further investments in startups and funds are planned.
“Israel is a key market for IT experts and engineers. It has more startups per capita than any other country in the world. This talent and technological knowhow coupled with the great expertise offered by our employees create the ideal breeding ground for future business models,” said Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of the executive board and member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche.
Meschke added that close collaboration with Israeli experts is necessary so that the company can quickly assess new technologies, develop good relationships and pilot appropriate solutions.
“Innovations have to come from somewhere. They need to be developed systematically, which is why we are starting to open up: It is both desirable and essential for us to welcome inspiration from other industries. That’s why we are working together with start-ups, but also establishing partnerships with other companies and the scientific community as well as investing in funds that are relevant to our sector,” said Meschke.
Israel is fast becoming a smart transportation technology hub, and Porsche is only the latest prominent automaker to establish a presence here.
Mercedes Benz, General Motors, BMW, Ford, Honda, Uber, Volkswagen, Renault and Volvo have opened R&D centers in Israel and/or invested in Israeli technology since 2016. The Honda Silicon Valley Lab, Volvo, Hertz International and Israel’s Ituran are sponsoring DRIVE, a new smart-mobility accelerator, coworking space and prototyping lab in Tel Aviv.
Jerusalem-headquartered Mobileye, prominent in the engineering of self-driving cars, was acquired by Intel in March 2017 for $15.3 billion. Mobileye is partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and corporations including Microsoft to establish an international transportation lab in the Israeli port city of Ashdod.