Million Dollar Route — Traffic Monitoring iPhone App Waze Raises $25 Million

Tel Aviv-based Waze, makers of an innovative real-time traffic mobile app, has announced $25 million in second-round funding led by Blue Run Ventures, with Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Venture Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures also part of the eight-figure investment.

The company has said that part of the funds will be used to relocate Waze’s operations to Palo Alto. Waze told VentureBeat that monies from the sizable B round will also be aimed at “expand[ing] corporate and marketing initiatives”.

With its total funding at $37 million (thanks to a $12 million series A from March 2008), the social driving startup looks to sustain the rapid growth it has enjoyed this year – 2.2 million people are registered Waze users, up from 500,000 to start the calendar year.

A Waze representative outlined recent progress in leveraging the company’s considerable communities.

“…we’re already generating revenue on licensing crowd-sourced, real-time data. [Now] that our community is large and growing, we have been rolling out our first tests in advertising. Location-based advertising has gone through several iterations and we’re taking it in an entirely new direction.”

Supporting that “large and growing” community with an evolving platform and infrastructure will be at the heart of Waze’s development. Waze’s differentiator in the social maps/driving space is its access to a tremendous amount of live traffic information, highly valuable data that is cheerfully provided by its loyal users. With the success of the app directly dependent on real-time, user-generated information, outages and errors will become more and more damaging to Waze’s services.

Waze’s app, which offers free turn-by-turn directions, is available for Apple’s iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian phones.

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