The Waze millionaires

The people who navigated the billion dollar app all the way to the bank.

Ehud Shabtai: $78 million

Waze Ltd. CTO Ehud Shabtai co-founded the company in 2006, after receiving a GPS system from a friend. He was enthusiastic about the product, and decided to write an application that would allow people to share information about speed cameras. The application began to grow, and then he received a letter from Mapa Ltd., which claimed that he had violated its copyright. Mapa was prepared to buy the application from him, but would not allow him to use the maps. At this point, he decided to delete Mapa's maps and create completely new ones.

Shabtai is rated by the blog "Venturebeat" as one of the ten most influential entrepreneurs in the mobile industry, alongside Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey. Before founding Waze, Shabtai was CTO of X.L.Net, and before that he held top development positions at Ascent P1 and Comverse Inc. (Nasdaq: CNSI). He owns 6% of Waze.

Amir and Gili Shinar: $65 million

Waze co-founder and VP R&D Amir Shinar has more than 15 years experience as a system architect, senior developer and R&D manager. He currently heads Waze's development team. He became a co-founder of Waze after founding, and serving as CEO of, X.L.Net, which offered a customized software solution. Before that, he served as an R&D manager at Comverse, specializing in open-source technologies. He started at Waze as one of more than 1,500 volunteers who mapped Israel in the early stages of the application. He has a B.Sc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (cum laude) and an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering, both from Minnesota State University. He owns 2.6% of Waze.

Amir's brother, Gili Shinar, owns the same sized stake in Waze.

Uri Levine: $38 million

Waze co-founder and president Uri Levine has 20 years experience in marketing and business development in the wireless industry. Before joining Waze, he served as an independent strategic adviser and product manager at Comverse and Celltrex. When Waze launched its application in 2009, he described the company as "the drivers' Wikipedia. This is the same revolution which Wikipedia led seven years ago, with the potential of a global revolution which originates in Israel." He has a BA in Economics from Tel Aviv University. He owns 3% of Waze.

Arie Gillon: $4 million

Arie (Arik) Gillon is a Waze co-founder, but holds no position in the company. His CV does not mention this chapter in his professional life. In the past two years, he has been an entrepreneur, and according to IVC, he was involved in the founding of two companies, Spot Wise Ltd. and DreamZon Ltd.

The only mention of Waze in Gillon's public profile on LinkedIn appears in the box of companies he monitors. Alongside Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) and Comverse, where he worked for a long time, Waze is also listed. His involvement in Waze's founding team included introducing the other partners, which led to the founding of the company.

Like Waze's other founders, Gillon worked for a long time at Comverse, in 1989-2007, in various R&D positions. He owns a small stake in Waze - 0.3%, according to the Israeli Corporations Authority.

Noam Bardin: Millions of dollars

Waze CEO Noam Bardin is the man who handles its operations in Silicon Valley and in Israel. He co-founded VoIP company Deltathree Inc. (Nasdaq: DDDC), where he held several executive positions, including COO, CEO, and chairman. Before joining Waze, Bardin was CEO of Intercast Networks. He has a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 10, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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