Latest Fastlane News
Aug 18, 2021
Tel Aviv-based innovation hub Drive TLV to expand in the U.S. and Europe Published: 17-08-2021 13:18:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 44 | Tags: Drive TLV, a unique innovation hub connecting high-tech Israeli startups with major corporate partners around the world, plans to begin working with U.S. and European startup companies next year. Drive's FastLane program has helped Israeli startups focused on mobility technology raise more than $1 billion since 2017. FastLane also will be expanded to include smart-mobility technologies under development for other business sectors, including logistics, insurance and energy. Itay Erel , CEO, Drive TLV: "The concept of mobility is constantly evolving. The goal of carrying people or goods from one place to another is no longer strictly an automotive challenge. Smart-mobility today requires the global collaboration of multiple industries to be successful." FastLane provides a unique combination of mentoring and training for high-tech mobility startups. The intense five-month commercialization program includes bi-weekly sessions with a team of financial and technology experts, a CEO forum that includes key industry leaders and ongoing face-to-face meetings with Drive's corporate and private-equity partners. The program provides a framework for startups to enter markets, build value propositions, fully commercialize their technology and develop lasting relationships with prospective customers looking for game-changing solutions. Drive's corporate partners include Honda, Volvo Cars, Volvo Group and the Mayer Group, as well as DENSO, NEC Corporation, Novelis, Cox Automotive, Hertz, Ituran and Next Gear Ventures. Drive TLV is in the process of evaluating applicants involved in the development of automotive mobility, connectivity and energy technologies among others for its next FastLane program. Six to eight companies will be chosen to participate in FastLane 7 which will get underway later this year. Tal Cohen , Co-founder, Drive TLV: "Our goal is to help startups plan for long-term success. We believe that Drive TLV fundamentally 'de-risks' a startup's pathway to success. Onboarding and commercializing new technology is not a trivial task. Corporations are big and take their time like elephants. Startups are quick and nimble like mice. They are two different animals with two different heartbeats. Sometimes it is helpful if we can narrow the gap by establishing a bridge so they can work together more closely. We help startups and our corporate partners set expectations for each step along the way. As both sides get to know each other, the process runs more smoothly. It takes time and it takes a rhythm. If you have guidance on how to handle at every stage along the way, the likelihood of success is higher." The commercialization of technology represents uncharted territory for many young companies with innovative technology, but without a fully developed product or business model, according to Cohen.To assist startups in the commercialization process, Drive has assembled an operational team serving as mentors and facilitators along with a group of experts in commercialization and related fields. FastLane alumni include Hailo, Foretellix, Arbe Robotics and Tactile Mobility, all four involved in autonomous-vehicle technology and sensors. Other FastLane participants are Addionic and Apollo Power, both centered on sustainability and electrification, and UVeye, a provider of automated inspection systems for the auto industry. UVeye, which went through the FastLane's program in 2018, began in the security field as a company producing high-tech scanning systems that look for bombs and contraband in vehicle underbodies. Today UVeye is working with six major automakers. The company entered the U.S. market in 2019 where it also is providing high-speed vehicle inspection systems to dealership service departments, tire stores, repair shops and fleet operations, as well as to used-car auction houses. "UVeye is a company with tremendous technology and the capability to deploy it successfully around the world," Cohen says. "It has the desire and ability to succeed. On paper, we should be saying 'Wow, that's it. Here's a startup that can be an immediate success.' But realistically it takes about two years of ups and downs to ultimately be successful. You have to go through a process of developing market knowledge, capability, functionality and the commercialization of your technology. UVeye has gone through that process and is emerging as a highly successful company." Drive has strong relationships with its corporate partners, including Volvo and Honda, notes UVeye CEO Amir Hever.