The Mobile 15: Our picks for the most innovative companies

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Waze

CEO: Noam Bardin

Number of employees: 90

The business:

Waze is a crowd-sourced traffic app that uses anonymized data from users’ phones to paint an accurate picture of traffic conditions. Users are able to further contribute back to the community by sharing live reports on conditions.

The backstory:

Waze grew out of a hack by Isreali Ehud Shabtai, who used crowd-sourced data to map out his country’s red-light cameras. The effort turned into a larger mapping project, which became Waze in 2009. In 2010, the company debuted in the U.S. and later moved its headquarters to Palo Alto.

The innovation:

Waze effectively turned millions of smartphones into moving real-time sensors that fed back data into a larger network. The service leveraged the concept of social network in which everyone provided a little data for the good of the entire community.

The plan:

Waze is now trying to create more benefit for users who join the Waze social network. It has created a gas-finder service that lets people find exclusive discounts on gas. Waze is looking at more partnerships with retailers that will offer deals to its users.

—RK

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