he ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab and Champion Motors Ltd., the Israeli importer of the Czech brand, are now jointly involved in Tel Aviv’s digital start-up scene. ŠKODA CEO, Bernhard Maier, and Prof. Itzhak Swary, Chairman of Champion Motors Ltd., have now signed a memorandum of understanding. The Mediterranean city is one of the world’s leading centres for IT start-ups.
”Israel is a high-profile source of digital innovation,” says ŠKODA AUTO CEO Bernhard Maier. “Being present there and gaining direct access to innovative projects, high-tech start-ups and IT talent is of great importance to ŠKODA AUTO. In this way, we are convinced that we can implement the region’s creative ecosystem and digital development competence in meaningful projects. ŠKODA AUTO’s current focus is on areas such as rapid testing, creating prototypes and implementing digital technologies.”
The aim of the partnership is to open a continuous dialogue with regional leaders of the IT scene, as well as companies and universities. The focus is on working with start-ups at a certain stage of maturity. Innovative projects will be identified at an early stage, from which new business models can be derived for ŠKODA AUTO.
The ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab is working closely with Champion Motors Ltd. The long-time successful importer of ŠKODA vehicles and models of other Group brands, alongside the parent company Allied Group, also has considerable expertise and experience in the promotion of emerging high-tech companies. Champion Motors Ltd. and the Allied Group have excellent connections with both the IT start-up scene and local venture capital funds. For several years, the company itself has been investing in innovative start-ups, which are now to be networked with the ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab. Holdings of the Allied Group are aimed at developers of new mobility solutions in the automotive industry, for instance, driver assistance systems, sensors relating to connectivity, or other areas. The Israeli importer and the traditional Czech brand are planning a joint innovation platform that promotes start-ups in the fields of automotive and smart mobility. The project has received comprehensive support from the Israeli-Czech Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Prof. Itzhak Swary, Chairman of Champion Motors Ltd., stated: “We are delighted to work with ŠKODA AUTO and to strengthen the cooperation even further.”
Currently, Israel has more than 6000 start-ups, some 300 research and development facilities run by multinational companies and hundreds of Israeli high-tech companies. The thriving high-tech industry is supported by an investment-friendly financial sector, as well as dedicated incubators and accelerators.
The automotive sector is a major driver and user of this dynamic development. More than500 start-ups and research groups in Israel are currently working on automotive projects – six times as many as in 2013.
Within the framework of Strategy 2025, ŠKODA has defined the digitalisation and creation of digital mobility services as the cornerstones of the company’s future development. The ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab in Prague, which, among other things, will strengthen the innovative power and digital development competence of the Czech manufacturer, will play a key role in this. The ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab aligns the entire company with the possibilities and requirements of digitisation. Designed as a fast-paced IT start-up, this ideas workshop explores and develops new business models, solutions and products. One of the core tasks of ŠKODA AUTO DigiLabs is collaborating with external innovators.