The Big Boys Battle Over Control of an Israeli Start-up
For a young Israeli company to build an app that brings together both Google and Facebook in battle is quite a feat. That’s exactly what Waze CEO, Noam Bardin, has done. To date, the ante for the app has been upped to the neighborhood of $1 billion and even at that price, it’s not known if Waze will sell. But as the battle continues to rage, we can only speculate what the final outcome will be.
The Mapping App Worth Fighting For
Waze is a joint Israel/Silicon Valley startup with an Android mapping and navigation app that is loaded with smart features not available on any other platform. The cool thing about this map is that it encourages interactive participation. The Waze crowdsourcing experience begins with the user typing in a final destination and during the commute the user can tap the screen to alert other drivers in the vicinity of any current road condition, such as a speed trap, traffic jam or detour. The more users the merrier, as they all add to the current road information at any given moment. Part of the app’s fun is its ability to connect drivers to each other through the creation of local driving communities. The app, which is free, is monetized by location-based advertisers.
And the Winner Is…
Supposedly Apple already left the bidding arena leaving Google and Facebook to duke it out. Facebook’s insistence on moving the company’s operations to California is not going over well with Bardin, who (with his coworkers) is loath to leave Israel. Acquisition by Google would go a long way towards improving Google Maps and keeping the popular mapping tool out of the hands of Facebook. Whether Waze will sell or put up another round of funding is anyone’s guess at this point. What is a given is that it is a valuable product worth fighting for.