Shalom Life | June 03, 2014

Startup Club: Waze

The recently acquired by Google GPS-based mapping service is a role model for fellow Israeli entrepreneurs looking to make the big leagues while giving validity to the term 'Startup Nation'

By: Daniel Koren

Published: September 18th, 2013 in Business » World

Over the past few decades, a growing number of small businesses involved in various industries have popped up around the world meeting the needs of an ever-growing, ever-changing market.

Jewish businessmen and innovators continue to excel throughout these industries, displaying their prowess as creative, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and tapping into continuously developing markets with 'startup' companies.

In a bid to recognize these decorated entrepreneurs for their ongoing contributions and advancements to these fields, Shalom Life is pleased to present: Startup Club, highlighting the best and the brightest of Jewish entrepreneurs who continue to provide our community with new, influential and innovative ideas that will forever change the way we interact with the world, and with one another.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, in our mission to celebrate the most visionary of Jewish entrepreneurs.

Business: Waze

Based Out Of: Ra'anana, Israel & Palo Alto, California

Entrepreneur(s): Uri Levine, Noam Bardin, Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar

Industry: Mapping Service


Entrepreneurs can spend years, even decades, perfecting their product or service and promoting their brand to the public, but still remain unnoticed.

Israeli-based Waze, however, is proof that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that is, if your idea is creative, practical, popular, and can start a bidding war between Facebook and Google.

Waze has, and continues to, make headlines over the course of this year; after being acquired by Google for approximately $1.3 billion, the largest buyout ever for an Israeli consumer firm, the GPS-based mapping service is slowly trickling its way into Google's own mapping service, Google Maps, now allowing users to, in typical Waze fashion, alert one another of traffic ahead, or of construction, road closures, and other such facts most drivers would like to be privy to.


Amidst the growing number of startups that continue to pop up around Israel, particularly Tel Aviv, Waze has proved itself a leader of 'Startup Nation' - the eponymous book by Saul Singer and Dan Senor that notes Israel has more companies on the NASDAQ than any country outside the U.S., and more than Europe and India combined.

That's a lot of businesses for a seemingly small country.

Google's acquisition of Waze merely opened up the floodgates to an Israeli phenomenon already well in existence, and has made it a public fact that Israelis quite enjoy networking, and are rather formidable at coming up with innovative ventures in the field of hightech.

Waze's 'real-time' traffic repots include accidents, construction work, detours, speed and police traps, traffic jams, bridge outages and other incidents that often affect employees and professionals on their way to or from work.

In 2012, it received the distinct honour of being named as the Best Overall Mobile App at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, defeating file-sharing app Dropbox, and newsfeed aggregator Flipboard.


(Waze CEO Noam Bardin)

What differentiates Waze from other GPS-based mapping services, and why Google can benefit greatly from them, is that all incident data is generated by actual Waze users, which, today, there are approximately 50 million of.

"The app is built for the community. The traffic is done by the community and to have the community build everything and then to charge for it wouldn’t make any sense," said CEO Noam Bardin in an interview with Forbes. "You can think about Waze as a kind of virtual billboard, that follows you around and is targeted and does all the virtual stuff. But it’s basically about teaching you about what’s going on around your route," he explains.

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