IAG Head of Global Innovation Dupsy Abiola .
(photo credit: BEN KELMER)
A senior delegation from the International Airlines Group (IAG), one of the world’s largest aviation groups, landed in Tel Aviv this week to scout the Israeli hi-tech ecosystem for cutting-edge innovation.
IAG, the London-headquartered parent company of carriers British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, LEVEL and Vueling, transports some 113 million passengers around the globe every year.
On Monday, eight start-ups presented their innovative solutions to IAG executives during a dedicated pitch day at Tel Aviv’s newly-opened WeWork ToHa.
The platform granted to the start-ups was organized in partnership with the UK Israel Tech Hub based at the British Embassy in Israel, and formed part of IAG’s highly-competitive Hangar 51 accelerator program.
“We scout globally, coming to places like Israel and anywhere where there are interesting tech communities working on new solutions,” Dupsy Abiola, IAG head of Global Innovation, told The Jerusalem Post.
“Aviation is a very specialized field, and we will want to see every player that’s specifically looking at aviation, but also looking at everything throughout the travel ecosystem that touches on the customer or customer experience. We’re also looking for technologies that haven’t been applied to aviation but could be.”
The delegation’s visit, led by Abiola, was particularly focused on scouting for start-ups and scale-ups developing solutions that can be utilized in the fields of logistics automation, identity management and biometrics.
Each start-up received a 30-minute slot, offering entrepreneurs 15 minutes to present their solution and another 15 minutes to explore how it might be designed, developed or implemented within IAG.
If deemed of interest, selected companies may advance to a trial period with IAG, join its Hangar 51 accelerator program, or even be considered for investment through IAG’s multi-million-pound investment fund Hangar 51 Ventures.
“Israel is one of the leading technology centers in the world, certainly for its size. There’s also a good trifecta of amazing education, sufficient funding to support the growth of the companies, and global outlook and talent that have the ability to grow a business, scale it and then start another one,” said Abiola.
“It’s a real hotbed of interesting and exciting technologies. If you’re serious about understanding what’s interesting and bubbling up in technology, I think you can’t ignore Israel.”
Petah Tikva-based BioBeat Technologies is one Israeli start-up that IAG has already recruited for its Hangar 51 accelerator program, aiming to provide its wearable medical monitoring device to cabin crew, pilots and travelers.
“One of the things that we are in Israel to do is to put ourselves on the map, and say that we’re very keen on working with this ecosystem, and that we really understand its strength and scale,” said Abiola.
“We will not work with all the start-ups who we speak to at that moment, but we will document who we’ve seen, who we’re engaging within the ecosystem and be able to perpetuate that knowledge across the group.”
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