Community social traffic and navigation company Waze has received $30 million in a new round of funding from Hong Kong Horizons Ventures, which manages the private venture investments in the technology sector for Facebook investor Li Ka-shing and Digital Growth Fund iFund of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).
Company officials said the funding will be used to support its rapidly growing user base, which is now at over 7 million “Wazers.”
In an Oct. 18 blog post, Waze also announced new board members, who are: John Malloy, managing partner of Blue Run Ventures, and Jason Wong, Horizon Ventures. Also Mary Meeker, a partner at KPCB, has joined the team as a strategic advisor and member observant in the directory, along with Josh Silverman, president of the department of American Express U.S. consumers and former CEO of Skype.
Waze is a social application for mobile phones that tells you how to get to destination based on traffic conditions at the time you drive. Driving with open Waze on their phones, users passively contribute traffic data and other information, or they can take a more active role and share warnings of accidents, police checks or any kind of danger on the road, helping other drivers know in advance what to expect along their route.
“Being 100 percent user-generated, the more people that use Waze, the application becomes more and more fun,” according to the company’s website.
Waze CEO Noam Bardin said the company has grown substantially since its last round of funding in late 2010.
“Since our last financing last December, has seen Waze substantial growth worldwide. Expand into China, which is the fastest growing market in cars and smart phones, is our next task,” Bardin said in a statement. “We also take this opportunity to welcome new board members and advisors. We continue to support our community of drivers, so that together we can avoid the traffic.”
Waze officials said the company has reached “critical mass” in markets ranging from its founding country (Israel) to Italy, Ecuador, France and parts of the U.S.
“We are pleased that Waze has a chance to further expand its user base in the world, while providing an application to conduct that is fast, simple, informative and fun, and helps consumers save time and gas,” Meeker said.
Waze is available free from Apple’s AppStore and the Android Market or directly from mobile devices http://m.waze.com.
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