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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

April 2024: Startup Masterclass

In April, together with the EcoMotion Community, we held our first seminar for startups on best practices for successful collaboration with an automotive OEM.
In a room full of Israeli entrepreneurs, our colleagues from Volkswagen Group of America Innovation and Engineering Center California (IECC), Bentley Motors and the Konnect team shared insights about internal processes, best practices, and important tips to get from one stage to another in the challenging development process. From initial contact with Volkswagen Group Innovation, through identifying the right stakeholders in the brand, to the intricacies of being nominated for an RFQ – we explored critical steps and processes necessary for effective collaboration with the Volkswagen Group.

March 2024: Autotech Israel Meetup

In March, we had the pleasure of hosting the vibrant Autotech Israel community in our offices.
The group, initiated by Alon Atsmon, brings together Israeli entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors, and industry experts from the automotive sector. It was a valuable opportunity for us to meet face-to-face and exchange ideas on the developments and future of the Israeli Automotive ecosystem.
Alon, shared about the community's growth and how strong-relationships have fueled successes in the automotive field. Jennifer Schwarz, the Director of the EcoMotion Community, shared insights on how the Israeli automotive ecosystem has transitioned from a startup phase to the scale-up phase, highlighting Israeli companies' role as direct suppliers to automotive OEMs. Our COO, Maayan Ekstein, provided an overview of the Volkswagen Group activities in Israel, touching on strategic focus areas and how startups can effectively partner with large OEMs.

April 2024: Israeli Ambassador visits Wolfsburg

In April Maayan Ekstein our COO was honored to take part in the visit of the Israeli Ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, at the Volkswagen Group HQ in Wolfsburg where he met Oliver Blume - CEO of the VW Group, Thomas Steg - Head of Group External Relations, and Nikolai Ardey - Head of VW Group Innovation. During his visit, Maayan presented successful collaborations of the Volkswagen Group with top Israeli companies such as Mobileye, Innoviz and Cymotive, and commercial collaborations with Israeli startups led by Konnect, such as Apollo Power, Spinframe, Mappo, Refresh Global and more.
The Ambassador also paid a visit to the Autostadt, the VW Group museum and visitors center, where he was greeted by TEMI, the Israeli service robot which is currently welcoming visitors in the Autostadt Piazza.
This important visit emphasizes the ongoing commitment and support of our Group to the Israeli market and tech ecosystem.

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.

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