People must really hate getting stuck in traffic. Waze, a Silicon Valley startup, just landed a whopping $30 million in venture capital financing to help people better navigate through congested highways and side streets. That followed a $25 million round for the company last year, creating a potentially interesting dynamic with Kirkland-based rival Inrix.
Inrix, for its part, is not underfunded. The company landed $37 million from Kleiner Perkins and others earlier this year, cash that it used to buy its European rival, ITIS Holdings.
Yep, you guessed it: Kleiner Perkins.
Other investors include Blue Run Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Venture Capital.
In the past, Inrix — which provides traffic data to a number of navigation, automobile and device companies — has looked at Waze as more of a partner than a competitor. But with the new cash infusion, one has to wonder if these two companies are on a collision course.
With Kleiner Perkins holding a position in both Inrix and Waze, perhaps the venture firm sees this as part of its old-fashioned keiretsu strategy.
Waze does lean more into the consumer realm, while Inrix historically has skewed heavier toward the back-end analytics and traffic analysis arena. However, both Inrix and Waze offer mobile applications for the end consumer.
We’ve reached out to Inrix to get their comments on the financing of Waze, and we’ll update the post as we hear more.
UPDATE: Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele said that Inrix collaborates with more than 200 automakers, navigation providers and transportation agencies around the world, including nine of the top 10 navigation apps.
“We see Waze no differently than our other mobile customers – a potential licensee of our traffic flow information which they’re sorely lacking in terms of delivering a service consumers can rely on to truly help them save time, money and use less fuel on their daily travels,” said Mistele.
“I think the real question for Waze is where are they going to be in a few years? Today, they have no revenue, they have no traffic flow data and much of their traffic incident data comes from Clear Channel. It’s not clear to us what their long-term business proposition really is at this point in the market.”
Here’s a look at the new version of Waze, which just launched earlier this week.