Waze Raises $30M to Expand into China

Waze iPhone Overview

Waze, the social GPS and traffic app, has raised a fresh $30 million from Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ iFund and Digital Growth Fund.  This brings their total funding to over $57 million.  Waze is headquartered in Israel, has another main office in Palo Alto and recently opened a UK office in London.

For those who aren’t familiar, Li Ka-shing is one of the world’s richest men and has been on a roll investing in hot startups.  Most famously he has made big investments in Facebook, Siri and Spotify.  This investment round for Waze could be just what they need to become the biggest GPS service in the world.  Li Ka-shing and Waze will symbiotically enter the Chinese market.

waze screenshot

Waze is growing quickly, with over 7 million users already thanks to a strong global expansion

The more users that use Waze the more useful it becomes.  So it is very important for Waze to continue its growth and reach critical mass, as it has in Israel.  There are over 1.3 million Waze users in Israel alone, or roughly 1/6 of the country’s population.  With the huge advantage of being free, it should be a breeze to convince Chinese users to download the software to their smartphone.  Waze is available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Nokia.

Here is an overview of the latest version of the iPhone app (3.0)

And here is a more in-depth video of how Waze works:

Waze was founded by Ehud Shabtai, Uri Levine, and Amir Shinar back in 2008.

Benjamin Bakhshi