Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele is transforming how companies get traffic information. Photo: Annie Laurie Malarkey
INRIX CEO Bryan Mistele is transforming how companies get traffic information. Photo: Annie Laurie Malarkey

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.

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  • slaggggg

    Here is the difference: Waze is a delight to use, whereas Inrix’s app sucks. Half the time Inrix’s app tells me it can’t retrieve traffic data – what else is the app good for? Waze has built a loyal community of users who love the app — Inrix only has crapware preinstalled through their “partners”. Great apps and engineering still matter a lot.

    • Brant Williams

      True – but a relatively inexpensive problem to fix. The data (and to some extent the plumbing) is the hard part, they could try 4x at the app UX until they get it right and still have it be worth the investment…given the value at the other end of the rainbow. I just wonder if they have the chops to know, value and prioritize a great UX. Hoping this gets their attention on that front.

    • Mike

      Hi slaggggg. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with our app. We are making a number of improvements to the UI and app performance. I’d like to help you with your specific slowness/unresponsiveness problem. You can reach out to me via Twitter or LinkedIn, and I’ll see how we can help.

  • Dental_FlossTycoon

    I still prefer Inrix over Waze and use it often. It just seems to be more accurate and their update iPhone app is pretty good so far.

  • jlgalley

    Waze seems like a more appropriate acquisition for Google, since Google’s grand plan is to use the “free” Android platform as a data-gathering source for swarm intelligence.

    INRIX seems more appropriate as an independent company, or perhaps an acquisition target for Microsoft or Nokia (Navteq, HERE maps), since these companies’ forge strategic partnerships with OEMs such as car makers.

  • ErickP

    I think Inrix would be a great aquisition for Apple. That data is invaluable and they can still service all that data with existing partners in the background. Just a thought. :-)

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