One thing Noam Bardin, founder of the mobile navigation app Waze, is not worried about six months after Google paid $1 billion to buy it?

Making money.

“So now we’re part of Google, so that doesn’t matter anymore,” he quipped in an interview with Jessica Lessin, editor of The Information at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich yesterday.

Well, that’s nice.

The answer is obviously a little more complicated than that, but it’s a refreshingly candid admission from the typically candid Bardin. And it’s especially true, given that after closing the deal, Google also ended up paying a ton of taxes to the nation of Israel on the deal — Waze is based there. According to a January 13 report in Ha’aretz, it was the second highest amount in taxes ever paid to the Israeli government.

The Information's Jessica Lessin and Waze's Noam Bardin on DLD stage

Courtesy of DLD The Information’s Jessica Lessin and Waze’s Noam Bardin on DLD stage

Still, Bardin did also mention its location-based advertising platform efforts, which are growing, making a much more complex point after his Google-as-moneybags joke. He noted that for a startup, it’s going well for Waze, but for a Google unit maybe not as much.

“If you look at it now from the Google perspective, how do you make billions of dollars? Hundreds of millions doesn’t count anymore, how do you make billions?,” he said. “And that’s the question we’ve been tasked. Is this a Google-scale business or is this a nice business for a startup?”

Another perk, according to Bardin? Being left alone, despite the high price he got. “What’s been unique about our acquisition is that Google is leaving us independent,” said Bardin. “That actually means that the company is structured the same … We really are a company within a company.”




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