Honda, Volvo and Hertz open DRIVE innovation center in Israel


A Honda dealership sign is shown at a car lot in Carlsbad, California

Honda, Volvo, Hertz and Ituran have opened an innovation center in Israel. The DRIVE innovation hub in Tel Aviv launched by the Mayer Group, the Israeli importer of Honda and Volvo cars, to promote the development of cutting edge technology for the smart mobility domain, including car rental.

DRIVE Innovation Center is the first of its kind and will introduce Hertz to Israeli-based start-ups and entrepreneurs to provide them with guidance on car rental business model development and value creation, as well as explore partnership opportunities.

Hertz will have first-hand insight into potentially disruptive technologies with the chance to influence the development of the next generation of innovative ideas.

DRIVE sponsors Volvo Cars, Honda Silicon Valley Lab, and Israeli telematics company Ituran.

As a DRIVE partner, Honda said it will actively engage with startups through its Honda Xcelerator open innovation program by providing expertise, funding and rapid prototyping opportunities that may evolve into additional business relationships. These activities will enable startups to receive accelerated validation of their technology and business model and, in turn, allow Honda to deepen its relationships with Israeli entrepreneurs.

“Honda Xcelerator has engaged with a broad array of startups in Israel over the last few years, working on innovative technologies with the potential to transform our future products,” said Dennis Clark, Strategic Alliance Lead for Honda Xcelerator. “Our partnership with DRIVE will enable Honda to collaborate even more closely with local innovators and continue to accelerate and drive innovation.”

DRIVE will be led by founding partners Omer Shachar, an investment executive from the Mayer Group; Dr. Tal Cohen, an adjunct associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and successful entrepreneur; and Boaz Mamo, a specialist in smart mobility entrepreneurship and founder of EcoMotion and Capsule, a smart mobility accelerator.

“DRIVE was created from a significant need in the world of smart mobility entrepreneurs to hone real market needs through collaboration with market leaders, creation of initial stage prototypes, and the ability to back the collaboration with focused investments,” said Boaz Mamo, DRIVE’s CEO. “Our partnership with Honda Xcelerator will help the most promising Israeli mobility startups to have quick market validation and access to one of the leading OEM’s open innovation programs in the world.”

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