Tech Nation: Automotive Tech Giant Delphi Closes Shop in Israel Less Than a Month After Opening

Tel Aviv to host VC fund being launched by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi partnership, Italian energy firm seeking renewable energy partnerships in Israel, Israel lifts ban on 3G data in West Bank

Francois Dossa, head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance ventures, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2018.
STEVE MARCUS/REUTERS

Automotive tech giant Delphi closes shop in Israel less than a month after opening

Automotive technology giant Delphi Automotive made an embarrassing U-turn, shutting down operations in Israel less than one month after opening an office in the country. Delphi had planned to find partnership opportunities and identify startups, but the company reversed course after rebranding itself as Aptiv and spinning off its Delphi Technologies division. After the move, management decide there was no need for an office in Israel. Eran Sandhaus, who served as vice president of the autonomous driving division and is considered one of the top Israelis in the industry, left around the time the company split up last month. Delphi-Aptiv denied ever opening a local office. We chose to put planning the office on hold during our transition with launching Aptiv, which was completed only in early December, the company stated. We remain committed to continuing our investments in Israel, which we see as a main source of technology and growth in capabilities. (Eliran Rubin)

Tel Aviv to host VC fund being launched by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi partnership

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi announced Sunday the launch of Alliance Ventures, a venture capital fund that plans to invest up to $1 billion in automotive technology startups around the world, including in Israel. Alliance will have offices in Beijing, Paris, Yokohama and Californias Silicon Valley. Our open innovation approach will allow us to invest and collaborate with start-up companies and technology entrepreneurs, who will benefit from the global scale of the alliance, said Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishis chairman and CEO. This new fund reflects the collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial mind-set at the heart of the Alliance. The fund is to invest up to $200 million in start-ups and open innovation partnerships with technology entrepreneurs focused on new mobility, including vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence, according to the company. Alliance Venturess first deal will be a strategic investment in Ionic Materials, an American company that is developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials. (TheMarker)

Italian energy firm seeking renewable energy partnerships in Israel

Italian energy firm Enel said it was looking to collaborate with Israeli startups to develop new technologies to make traditional and renewable energy production more cost-effective. Enel, Europes biggest utility, is teaming up with Israeli construction firm Shikun & Binui in opening an innovation lab in May that will look for companies to develop projects. We dont want to be the Kodak or Nokia of the energy industry, Fabio Tentori, head of Enels innovation hubs, told Reuters. Somebody for sure is going to disrupt the energy industry and we want to be there. Producing and selling electricity is becoming more of a commodity so margins will come down, Tentori said, noting that renewable energy was a particular focus. Enel cant go it alone so it is seeking help in Israel, one of the worlds largest tech centers. We have already evaluated more than 100 companies and we are collaborating with 10 of them, he added. (Reuters)

Israel lifts ban on 3G data in West Bank

West Bank Palestinians are finally getting high-speed mobile data services, after Israel lifted a long-standing ban that cost their economy hundreds of millions of dollars, impeded tech startups and denied them simple conveniences enjoyed worldwide. Palestinian mobile providers Wataniya and Jawwal are expected to launch 3G broadband services in the West Bank by the end of the month, Palestinian officials said, after Israel assigned frequencies and allowed the import of equipment. Its about time, Wataniya CEO Durgham Maraee said of the anticipated launch, speaking to The Associated Press at company headquarters in the West Bank last week. It has taken a very, very long time. The belated move to 3G comes a decade after Palestinian operators first sought Israeli permits and at a time when faster 4G is increasingly available in the Middle East. The ban remains in place in the Gaza Strip. In blocking 3G for years, Israel has cited security reasons. (AP)