An honorable guest from ROC (Taiwan) has visited MultiReach in Israel last month. He is the Chairman of a big Chinese bank and it was his first visit to Israel. Our purpose was to expose the chairman to Israeli innovation. It was the Jewish holiday season in Israel, therefore, traffic was an issue, so we used Waze (A social GPS application for mobile phones developed by the Israeli start-up) to find the fastest way around. While we were driving him around Israel, a discussion rose up in the car regarding the definition of Innovation. We’ve all agreed that it is not enough to have a bright idea; you should also know how to commercialize it so it would be considered as true Innovation.
While there are many Israeli companies with bright Inventions, the solution/company mentioned above differentiated itself as a good example of bright invention made in Israel alongside with commercialization in China.
Waze, the smart crowd-source traffic information application, which also takes part in Apple Maps project, has picked up $30 million in a Series C round of funding as it looks to capitalize on a burgeoning international opportunity, particularly in China.
The Israeli company’s latest funding been led by Horizon Ventures, which is managing the funds of Hong Kong’s Li Ka Shing, considered among the most powerful and richest men in Asia.
The company, leverages data from users who have downloaded the app to help construct a very accurate and real-time picture of traffic conditions. And it’s increasingly letting users report news events.
For Waze, Asia is huge challenge/opportunity and no country is bigger or perhaps more complicated than China, where consumers are snapping up cars but the infrastructure isn’t keeping pace. That’s why the investment by Li Ka Shing is the key to Waze’s big planned push into the middle kingdom.
It’s important to note that to this day Li Ka Shing invested in few Israeli start-ups: Magisto; Waze; Onavo; Everything.me; Wibbitz, Preen.me. Founders like Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze think that Li Ka Shing can be instrumental in helping establish the necessary partnerships that are required to enter a heavily regulated market likeChina. In interviews for local newspapers, he said the payoff could be huge because there isn’t a dominant mapping player in China and the market is ripe for the solution that Waze offers.
What do you think about the suggested formula: “Innovation= Invention + Commercialization” ? Are you familiar with other examples? Leave us a comment.
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