Over the past year, Alliance Innovation Lab Tel Aviv worked together with Upstream Security to design a cybersecurity solution for connected cars within the Renault- Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. As part of the effort, market research, technological evaluations, and business evaluations took place. The rigorous and in-depth joint PoC subsequently found that Upstream’s solutions seamlessly fit the Alliance’s cybersecurity and business needs.
The Innovation Lab facility, inaugurated in Tel Aviv, Israel in June 2019, has the stated goal of enabling the Alliance to accelerate a unique model of collaboration with Israeli startups. It boasts an impressive 1,600 square meters facility, which allows the lab to provide Israeli startups like Upstream the space to test technologies on real vehicles and collaborate directly alongside Alliance members on joint prototyping efforts. The end goal of the cooperation within the lab is to find effective solutions for Alliance members.
The Alliance Innovation Lab and Upstream collaborative journey started after a scouting process where, as Eldad Raziel, the Cyber Security Lead at the Tel Aviv Lab explains, “we found Upstream Security to offer the most mature end-to-end cybersecurity solution covering telematic servers, mobile applications, and the car itself.”
Gil Levy, VP Customer Success of Upstream adds, “The Lab approached Upstream with a long list of requirements for a solution that would improve their cybersecurity posture.” Among the features that were requested were: no in-vehicle installation and therefore quick deployment and no impact on vehicle production cycles, a product with a proven track record that was already tested, verified, and in production, and finally a solution that would match the business needs and challenges of the Alliance members.
The year-long three-part confirmation process of Upstream as an ideal match for Alliance members, included a solution landscape evaluation (conducted concurrently with market research), a technical evaluation and PoC using the Lab’s cybersecurity research team and the Lab vehicles, and lastly, a business evaluation, where the business and the commercial potential of Upstream’s solution was evaluated in accordance with the Alliance members’ needs.
The success of the process was apparent to both Upstream and the Lab. “We confirmed that the solution is not only a good solution but that it fits the precise needs that we have within the [Alliance] business model” explains Antoine Basseville, Director of Alliance Innovation Lab Tel Aviv. “Then we agreed to do something more and see if it would also be valuable to invest financially in Upstream.”
After an in-depth discussion, Upstream was found to be worthy of more than just a successful POC, and Alliance Ventures, the Alliance corporate venture capital fund invested into Upstream, leading its $30M series B of financing. “This confirmed”, continues Basseville, “that this connection is not just one shot, but that it’s a great opportunity to continue working together. It’s valuable for the Alliance, it’s valuable for Upstream, and it’s a very good opportunity to work together to provide the Alliance with a solution that will comply with its needs.”
As the automotive world moves more toward electric, connected, and autonomous vehicles, it leads to good opportunities, but also to risks. So, explains Basseville, “we were looking for cyber protection for our cars and services, not only in the car but also at the communication and cloud level. In this field, the solution provided by Upstream is the easiest and one of the best solutions to be able to protect not only our cars but also our business model.” After seeing the success of the collaborative efforts, both the Alliance Innovation Lab and Upstream Security are committed to continue joining forces to make the future of smart mobility safer and more secure.