Concern that the Israeli mobile navigation company Waze would move abroad after is acquisition by Google proved unfounded this week, with an announcement CEO Noam Bardin that the company will stay in the country and double the number of its employees by the end of 2014, The Times of Israel reported.
Bardin said that Waze had grown 20% since the much-publicized $1 billion Google deal. The 120 employees at its office in Ra’anana are schedule to move to Google’s Tel Aviv office.
He added that most difficult period in Waze’s startup phase was raising the second round of investment. The business was not taking off, the money had run out and the company was not paying salaries, he said. At the time, Waze entered negotiations with Microsoft and there was a lot of friction with investors.
“Today, people look at Waze as a success story, but it was hard,” said Bardin in a recent conference. When the startup asked all the venture capital funds in Israel to invest in the company valued at $40 million they all refused. “In the end, the round [of investment] ended at $100 million when Microsoft entered the picture,” he recalled.
During Waze’s acquisition negotiations the media was rife with rumors.
Bardin seemed to confirm that most of the rumors were true. “We have a problem with startups in Israel, people don’t know how to keep their mouths shut,” he said, noting that several times the rumors almost crashed the final deal.