(JNS.org) The German automaker Porsche announced Thursday it will invest tens of millions of euros in Israeli automotive start-ups, following a trend by U.S. automakers such as Ford and high-tech firms like Intel heavily investing in Israel’s emerging self-driving car market.
"Israel is a top market for IT experts and engineers. Per capita there are more start-ups there than in any other country in the world,” said Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman and CEO of Porsche. “This talent and technological know-how combined with the deep expertise of our employees is the ideal breeding ground for future-oriented business models.”
Porsche will open a permanent office in Israel, where its representative will seek out innovative auto technologies for integration into the carmaker’s projects.
The company did not specify which Israeli smart car technology companies it plans to invest in, but noted its investments will be made through the Israeli venture capital funds Magma Ventures and Grove Ventures.
Magma Ventures’s current investment portfolio focuses on artificial intelligence and automotive innovation. The fund has invested in numerous successful Israeli start-ups—such as the Waze navigation app—and manages a portfolio valued at $600 million.
Grove Ventures’s primary focus is in early stage technologies in the Internet of Things, cloud technologies and artificial intelligence. The firm has a portfolio valued at $100 million.
In March, Intel acquired the Israeli start-up Mobileye for $15.3 billion, making the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli technology company and placing the U.S. computer chip company at the forefront of the rapidly expanding autonomous vehicle market. Prof. Yoram Shiftan, head of transportation research at the Haifa-based Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, has told JNS.org Israel “is one of the major contributors to driverless automated car technology.”