Waze secures $30m in funding, hits 7 million users

BREAKING: Waze, social satnav which turns driving into a game, has raised $30 million in further funding. Investing is Hong Kong billionaire Mr. Li Ka Shing of Horizons Ventures Hong Kong and the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Digital Growth Fund and iFund. The company now has 7 million drivers and plans to launch its platform in China.

Here’s the release just out:

Waze receives US$30m in funding from Horizons Ventures and KPCB

London, 18 October 2011 – Waze, the leading social traffic and navigation community, today announced an additional round of funding of USD30 million. Investing in the new round is Horizons Ventures Hong Kong, managing the private venture investments of Mr. Li Ka Shing in the technology sector, and the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Digital Growth Fund and iFund. The funding will be used to support the app’s rapidly growing user base of more than 7 million drivers and to launch its traffic-reporting platform in China.

New to the Team
Waze has also appointed new members to its board: John Malloy, Managing Partner of Blue Run Ventures and Jason Wong of Horizon Ventures. In addition, Mary Meeker, partner at KPCB, has joined the team as a strategic advisor and board observer alongside Josh Silverman, President of American Express US Consumer division and former CEO of Skype.

“Since our last round in December, Waze has seen phenomenal growth around the world. Expanding to China, the world’s fastest growing automotive and smartphone market, is an obvious next move for us,” said Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze. “I would also like to welcome our new board members and advisors. We look forward to working together to support our driving community. Together we can outsmart traffic.”

“With its market leading crowd-sourced, real-time navigation application, Waze has reached critical mass in markets ranging from its home country (Israel) to Italy, Ecuador, France and parts of America (including Los Angeles). We are excited about Waze’s opportunity to continue to grow its user base around the world while providing a fast, easy, informative and fun driving application that helps consumers save time and fuel,” said Mary Meeker, KPCB Partner.

7 Million Drivers
Launched in the UK this summer and hot on the heels of the release of its latest 3.0 iPhone version, Waze recently reached its global 7 million-driver milestone. It is by the collaborative strength of the Waze community that the app is able to operate entirely on crowdsourced data, from driver-created maps, to citizen traffic reports, to community-curated points of interest. The result is a completely social navigation experience in which every driver is contributing to a traffic-free world, simply by driving with the app open on their smartphone.

Growing at the Speed of Social
In addition to its traditional markets in the US, France, Italy, and Israel, Waze has seen accelerated growth in new markets such as Spain, Malaysia, Mexico, and Brazil. Waze has used its data to visualise traffic in several of its larger markets:

Tel Aviv: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOHIWsK-Mf0
Paris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NxmTVicWTc
Rome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eONNCDxUJaU
Los Angeles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72-blGAuh6s

Waze is available for free from the Apple AppStore and Android Marketplace or at http://m.waze.com.


About Waze
Waze is a social traffic and navigation app based on the world’s largest community of drivers sharing real time road info and contributing to the “common good” out there on the road. By simply driving with Waze open on their smartphones users passively contribute traffic and other road data. Users can take a more active role by sharing road reports on accidents, police traps, or any other hazards along the way, helping to give other users in the area a ‘heads-up’ about what’s to come– and because it’s 100% user-generated, the more people who use Waze, the better (and more fun) it gets!