Waze was founded in 2006 by Ehud Shabtai and started as an open-source project on his balcony in Tel-Aviv, Israel. This is the equivalent of starting a project in a garage in America.
It was initially intended as a tool for commuters to share real-time traffic updates. At the time of its launch, Waze had 22 employees based in Israel and about 2,000 active users. Around this time in 2007, when the first iPhone was released, you needed to jailbreak the iPhone to install any kind of navigation software, by May 2009 anyone with a smartphone could download the Waze app. For many people, it was one of the first apps they ever downloaded.
In 2013, Google acquired the company for an impressive $1 billion. Today, Waze has over 500+ employees and 140 million monthly users who drive 36 billion kilometers per month all around the world. It’s almost crazy to think about how far the company has come since its humble beginnings.