El Al, JetBlue to Establish Startup Program

EL AL planes at Ben Gurion International Airport. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90
El Al planes at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

By Dror Halavy

YERUSHALAYIM – El Al has established a new aviation technology accelerator together with JetBlue Technology Ventures, the investment arm of JetBlue Airlines. The program, called Navigator, will provide assistance to start-ups in the field of aviation technology, including exposure to strategic partners, initial funding and ongoing business development guidance and assistance.

Startups from Israel and around the world will be considered for the program, based on the technology they have developed to assist passengers, enhance aviation safety, promote sales, and improve infrastructure for scheduling, baggage handling, etc. Companies selected for the program will work for three months in Israel at El Al’s Cockpit accelerator program, and an additional month in Silicon Valley, where they will have the opportunity to meet key figures in the startup funding arena. If they succeed during the four-month international program, graduates may be offered workspace either in Israel or California, as well as business development mentoring to further develop business partnerships.

Henry Chen Weinstein, CEO of the Cockpit Innovation Hub, said that “bridging Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley, two of the leading startup hubs on earth through Cockpit and JetBlue Technology Ventures is the next step in harnessing the power of innovation for the future of the air travel industry. The Navigator program is the first of its kind, incubating startups focused on travel and aviation by the industry itself, creating a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs.”

Bonny Simi, President, JetBlue Technology Ventures, said that the company was “excited to partner with Cockpit to connect the two travel tech innovation hubs of Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley through the Navigator program. By combining a wealth of aviation and technology expertise with actual platforms and connections to incubate ideas within the airline industry, we are perfectly positioned to directly help startups shape the future of the travel.”