Ajit Deshpande - June 18, 2013 - 0 Comments
GPS-based navigation app startup Waze was acquired last week by Google for a price just north of $1 billion. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Israel, Waze had previously raised approximately $67 million in venture capital from investors based in Israel and the Silicon Valley. The startup has almost 50 million users that contribute information on driving conditions, gas prices and other commute-related activities across more than 40 countries. Google beat out rival Facebook in the bidding war for Waze, and in doing so brings into its fold one of its strongest current rivals in mapping.
Quite a bit has already been written about entrepreneurs from Israel, the Start-up Nation, and Waze is the latest example of the impact that a nation of less than 8 million people continues to have at the frontiers of technology and business. From the impact that ‘learning on the job’ at IDF has on the work-culture and technical knowhow of its citizens, to the understanding in the populace that success stems from the ability to sell into large markets (whether United States or Europe or Asia), Israel continues to be the one location outside the United States where the VC model might be most applicable. A startup is about selling products and services that solve customer problems, and in today’s connected world, this can be all done online by teams of technically talented doers and domain-knowledgeable marketers and salesmen. Through decades of hands-on experiences, the Start-up Nation seems to have mastered this process. So, while it might just be a rumor that part of what clinched the Waze deal for Google was their willingness to let Waze stay in Israel, that rumor wouldn’t be difficult to believe if it were true.
Congratulations to Waze for becoming a huge example for entrepreneurs to follow!