Google’s acquisition of traffic technology company Waze, for a reported purchase price of more than $1 billion, is generating buzz across the industry, but Kirkland-based traffic tech company INRIX is paying especially close attention given the similarities in its business.
Responding to our questions, INRIX spokesman Jim Bak called the reported purchase price “incredible,” especially for a company such as Waze that gathers data just from its own app and monetizes its business through in-app advertising.
“It demonstrates the industry’s recognition of crowd-sourced data … which is at the core of our business since we started 7 years ago,” he said. “Stand anywhere along the 3 million miles of road we cover worldwide and a vehicle or device sharing data with INRIX would pass by you every 2 minutes.”
He added, “We’re different than Waze in many areas but the main one is we’re delivering a service relied on by 200 partners and customers ranging from leading automakers to DOTs that offers valuable insight to more than 150 million consumers worldwide. We’re sourcing data from hundreds of partners and customers in our ecosystem and monetizing it through a real data licensing business that now extends beyond transportation to real-estate, media and finance. So if Waze is worth a billion dollars, what’s INRIX worth? :)”
The answer to that question may be coming soon. INRIX, led by CEO Bryan Mistele, has shown signs that it’s headed toward an initial public offering. The company didn’t address our questions about whether the Waze deal or other developments change that course or make an acquisition more likely.