Social Driving Community Waze Hits 1.5m Members Worldwide

Social Driving Community Waze Hits 1.5m Members Worldwide
Waze, the start-up that provides a driver-generated map and traffic app today announced 1.5 million members in its network, doubling the size of its community since May 2010 (read here). The four largest countries are Israel (over 450,000 members), the United States (over 300,000 members), Italy (around 140,000) and France (around 90,000). The number of active users versus downloads has not been specified by Waze.

The Israeli company is positioning itself as providing a “social driving” service to its members. Through a community-based approach, waze harnesses passive and active driver-generated data in order to build navigable road maps, traffic information and speedcam warning.

The solution also offers to create groups of drivers. 70% of them are people sharing the same commute, according to Waze statistics. There are a total of 4,199 of such groups, including 691 in the United States.

Waze today extended this group feature with “Custom Groups” for media companies, retailers, car companies, etc. which allows icons to be custom-branded and easily identified on a map for other members of that group. The first two Custom Groups have been launched by local media brands in the United States: NBC2, a TV station in South West Florida and The Statesman, a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas.

With these groups Waze fosters the formation of micro, hyper local groups of commuters, creating more stickiness and daily relevance for its service. The company, which has been backed by venture capital firms - Blue Run Ventures (USA), Magma Ventures (Israel) and Vertex Venture Capital (Israel) - still has to find a solid business model. the sponsoring of local groups of drivers might be a step in that direction.

Wednesday, September 29th 2010

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