Mobile GPS navigation application developer Waze Inc. has raised $25 million in its second financing round from existing investors Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Venture Capital, and BlueRun Ventures. Qualcomm Ventures also participated in the round.
Waze CTO Ehud Shabtai, president Uri Levine, and VP R&D Amir Shinar founded the company in 2008. The company raised $12 million in its first financing round.
Waze's smartphone navigation application can be downloaded to enable users to avoid traffic. The application can also tell the user how much time it will take to reach his destination, and whether there are traffic police along the route. A few days ago, Waze announced that it had reached 2.2 million users in all the countries where it operates.
Waze's executives call the company "the Wikipedia for drivers". Its product is based on users' content, which updates maps and warns of traffic congestion. The objective is to use the users' updates and reports to enable a driver to find alternative routes to avoid traffic.
Waze CEO Noam Bardin said that, in 2010, the company was able to generate revenue from the sale of its maps and traffic data to other companies. "By the end of this year, we'll begin our content-based advertising model, which will become our main source of revenue," he said. "We were surprised by advertisers' willingness, as well as customers' willingness to receive location-based ads."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 8, 2010
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