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Connecting 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. Our team is passionate about Innovation and Mobility and strives to find the best technologies in the market to scale and implement them across the Volkswagen Group and its multiple brands.

Our Mission

Konnect’s mission is to spearhead the discovery, evaluation, and integration of Israeli pioneering technologies, focusing on Sustainability, Mobility, and Digitalization. Konnect serves as a bridge between groundbreaking technological solutions and the Volkswagen Group’s needs, while supporting the VW Groups’ mission of Shaping Mobility for Generations to come.

OUR FOCUS

Sustainability

Electrification, Sustainable Materials, Circular Economy, Carbon Economy

Mobility

Autonomous Driving, Mobility Services (maas/taas), Safety, Robotics

AI/Digitalization

Driving Experience, In-cabin Sensors, Digital User Interface

Our Test Days

Our Test Days

Autonomous Driving

Testing a novel LiDAR sensor

Our team tested a novel LiDAR of the company Lidwave. We tested the A-sample of the startups’ sensor which is based on light coherence rather than time of flight or FMCW. The test of the sensor was performed on a closed test track in Israel and on public roads. The sensor was put through several testing scenarios to get a good understanding of its capabilities: noise, blooming, long-range separation, detection of small objects on the road, detection of obstructed pedestrians, and more.

Play Video

Check out a summary of our test day

Health and Wellbeing

Testing heart rate sensor

Our team tested a touchless driver’s biometrics sensing suite, based on a camera + laser sensor and a complimentary AI engine. During the test, the sensor measured the driver’s heart rate (HR) while driving in changing road environments and various scenarios.

Play Video

Here is a recap of our day

Health and Wellbeing

Testing alcohol detection

Our team tested the capabilitiesy of Coarractions’ Corractions technology to identify drivers under the influence of alcohol. During the test day, we collected data from several sensors installed in the vehicle sensor which was then analyzed by Corractions to identify if a driver is over a certain blood-alcohol level.

Play Video

Check out the test day here

Our Success Stories

Our Success Stories

TEAM

MEET 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

COO

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 brings experience representing corporations, startups, investors, and government entities across the Israeli innovation ecosystem, covering different sectors and global regions.
Noa holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelor from Peking University.
Daria Vexler

HR & Office Admin

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

Angie is steering Head of Procurement & RSO at Konnect, connecting suppliers to procurement departments and tenders in the Volkswagen Group.

Originally from Germany, Angie became a “Kibutznik” after moving to Israel over 30 years ago.
With more than 13 years of experience in working as the Israel representative for the Regional Sourcing Office of the Volkswagen Group, Angie holds extensive knowledge of the Israeli OEM supplier market.

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

Itai Ziv

Head of Security AIPAC

Itai is an experienced security and information security manager, supporting all security topics of the Volkswagen Group in Israel as well as sourcing for innovative cyber technology for the Group Brands.

Prior to Konnect, Itai headed the corporate security at Champion Motors, the free importer of Volkswagen Group in Israel.

Itai holds a CISO diploma from the Technion, the Israel institute of technology, as well as a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the Open University of Israel.

Our Global Innovation Teams

Shaping mobility for future generations

Tel Aviv
KONNECT INNOVATION HUB
Wolfsberg | Potsdam
INNOVATION CENTER EUROPE
Beijing | Shanghai
INNOVATION CENTER ASIA
Tokyo
INNOVATION HUB
Singapore
INNOVATION HUB
Knoxville
INNOVATION HUB
Belmont INNOVATION CENTER CALIFORNIA

For more information on the Group visit the Volkswagen Group website here

OUR ACTIVITY

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.

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!

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!

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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