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Connecting the Volkswagen Group to the Future of Mobility in Israel

Konnect is the Innovation Hub of the Volkswagen Group in Israel, founded in 2018 and based in Tel Aviv – the heart of the Startup Nation.

Konnect’s mission is to spearhead the discovery, evaluation, and integration of Israeli pioneering technologies in the Volkswagen Group vehicles and factories.

Konnect activities support the Volkswagen Groups mission: “Shaping Mobility for Generations to come.”



Electrification, Sustainable Materials, Circular Economy, Carbon Economy


Autonomous Driving, Mobility Services (MaaS/TaaS), Safety, Robotics


Driving Experience, In-cabin Sensors, Digital User Interface

Our Test Days

Advanced LiDAR technology

Our team tested a novel LiDAR sensor for autonomous driving applications, developed by the startup Lidwave. The test was executed on a closed test track and public roads. The sensor was put through several testing scenarios, according to the VW Group protocols, to evaluate its performance with noise, blooming, long-range separation, detection of small objects on the road, detection of obstructed pedestrians, and more.

Driver’s vital signs monitoring

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the driving experience in our vehicles, our team tested an innovative touchless driver’s biometrics sensing suite, based on a camera & laser sensor and a complimentary AI engine. The test focused on the driver’s heart rate (HR) monitoring, comparing the touchless sensor’s HR measurements to a polar belt’s HR measurements, while driving in changing road environments with various driver profiles.

Detection of DUI

During an extraordinary test day in a closed track in Israel, our team validated the life-saving technology of the startup Corractions, which aims to detect drivers under the influence of alcohol via sophisticated analysis of the subject micro-muscle movements. The test subjects were driving at different DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) levels while collecting their micro-movement data from existing sensors installed in the vehicle. The data was then analyzed by Corractions to define if a driver is over a certain blood-alcohol level.

Our Success Stories

Our Team


Hemdat Sagi

Managing Director

Hemdat has been the Managing Director of Konnect since 2023, and one of its founders, establishing the company in Israel in 2018.

She has over 12 years of experience in senior managerial, strategic, and business development roles in the private and government sectors.
In her previous roles, Hemdat headed the Israeli branch of HY- the Axel Springer ecosystem firm, consulting German companies on digitalization and transformation projects and later on worked as an advisor to Volkswagen Group and Audi AG in Israel.
Between 2012 and 2016, Hemdat served as a Commercial Attaché and Head of the Economic Department in the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, promoting German-Israeli economic, business, and innovation ties.

Hemdat is a lawyer by training and has a postgraduate diploma in Advanced Management from ESMT Business School in Berlin.

Maayan Ekstein


Maayan is the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director at Konnect.

Supporting the Managing Director in the company’s operational and strategic activities, and responsible for the overall planning, monitoring, and execution of the technical projects, PoCs, and the Konnect test-vehicle lab.
Prior to joining Konnect, Maayan served as an officer in an elite unit at the Israeli Air-force for 12 years, leading complex operations, technical projects, aerial planning, and management in various units.

Maayan holds an MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from the Reichman University.

Benny Prujan

Head of Sensors and AI Innovation Technologies

Benny is the Head of Sensors and AI technologies at Konnect where he covers a wide range of areas such as Autonomous driving and Health & Wellbeing.
Benny brings over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, covering the automotive, semiconductor, and defense sectors. In his previous role, Benny was a product manager at Innoviz, a direct LiDAR supplier of our Groups' software brand, Cariad.
Benny holds an M.E. in Systems Engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University.
David Order

Technology Scouting & Business Development Manager

David is Konnect's Tech and Business Development Analyst; his main responsibilities are scouting and evaluating new technologies, managing projects, and assisting with business development activities.

Born and raised in Germany, David moved to Israel after his degree in International Business and gained professional experience in e-commerce and automotive Startups. David is especially passionate about connecting German corporates to the thriving Israeli startup ecosystem.

David holds a B.Sc. in International Business from Maastricht University.

Noa Yang

Sustainability & Decarbonization Innovation Manager

Noa is the Decarbonization & Electrification Innovation Manager at Konnect, identifying and validating technologies that drive progress towards a more sustainable future of mobility.

Leveraging her experience as a Senior Innovation and Tech Strategy Manager at OPPO, Noa brings her knowledge of Open Innovation and passion for consumer technology to her current role at Konnect. In addition, her diverse experience across corporations, startups, investors, and government agencies has equipped her with a strong foundation in the fast-paced tech landscape to drive impactful Climate Tech projects with startups.

Noa holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University, Israel, and a B.A. from Peking University, China. As a Native Chinese, she is fluent in Mandarin, English, and Hebrew.

Daria Vexler

Office & Welfare Manager

Daria is in charge of administration at Konnect and plays a pivotal role in supporting the organization's bookkeeping efforts.

With 15 years of administrative experience in both large corporations and small Fintech companies, she has vast expertise in administration, employee welfare, talent acquisition, event planning, marketing & financial operations.
Additionally, Daria adeptly manages relationships with suppliers and clients, ensuring a smooth financial operation.
Her main role is to make things happen and provide 360-degree support to all team members of Konnect.

Daria holds a BA in Political Science and Government from The Academic College of Tel-Aviv, Yaffo, Israel.

Angelika Handelsman

Head of Procurement

Angelika Handelsmann is the Head of Procurement at Konnect, connecting suppliers and startups to procurement departments and tenders in the Volkswagen Group and brands. Angie provides regular guidance and support to startups onboarding to the VW Group B2B platform.
Angie moved to Israel from Germany 35 years ago and became a “Kibutznik” for 12 years.
With more than 15 years of experience working as the Israeli representative for the Regional Sourcing Office of the Volkswagen Group, Angie holds extensive knowledge of the Israeli OEM supplier market.

Angelika holds a Business Administration and Management degree from the IHK Business School in Munich.

Our Global Innovation Network

Tel Aviv
Wolfsberg | Potsdam
Beijing | Shanghai

For more information visit the Volkswagen Group website here

Konnect BLOG

November 2023: Group Innovation Roundtable Prague

On the 29th and 30th of November, Group Innovation, Group IT, and Group Production Innovation together with the brands Audi, Seat/CUPRA, and Skoda hosted a roundtable about Innovation management and the newest technologies. Konnect attended with Hemdat Sagi, our Managing Director giving a keynote presentation and David Order, Technology Scouting and Business Development Manager. We shared with colleagues our ‘Lessons Learned in 5 Years of Innovation’ and exchanged on current technologies and Group initiatives.

August 2023: Future Mobility Days

Future Mobility Days (FMD) is the yearly internal exhibition by Volkswagen Group Innovation,
showcasing ongoing innovation and R&D projects on various strategic topics.
In August, our team travelled to Germany to attend the annual FMD, that took place in Ehra.
This year Konnect featured six projects, at FMD, in the fields of Autonomous driving, Sustainability and sensors.
We look forward to FMD 2024!

May 2023: Konnect Celebrated 5 Years of Innovation and a Special Announcement

On May 23rd, during Ecomotion week, Konnect marked a special milestone - 5 years of Innovation achievements since our launch in 2018 in Israel! Our team was happy to celebrate this special occasion with over 150 of our partners, startups, and many colleagues from the Group. The event gave an excellent opportunity to say thank you to all the great supporters and partners we met throughout these 5 years. Dr. Astrid Wollenberg, who will finish her term as MD of Konnect in the summer, announced that the VW Group Board nominated Hemdat Sagi, our Chief of Strategy & Business Development, as the next MD of Konnect starting August 1st, 2023. We look forward to our next chapter and to achieving more great milestones!

January 2023: Group Innovation Global hub Workshop in Israel

From the 13th to the 15th of February, Konnect hosted the heads of Group Innovation global locations worldwide. After three long years of not meeting face-to-face, our team was excited to host our colleagues from California, Knoxville, Wolfsburg, Singapore, Beijing, and Tokyo.

The goal of the workshop was to get updated on new strategic topics and projects of Group Innovation, discuss how to collaborate internally, and share best practices on scouting, PoC, and technical developments. The visit included a round table discussion about the Corporate-Startups relationship, with our partners from Porsche, SEAT, and some of the leading Konnect portfolio startups.

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