With COVID-19, industries and businesses have been taking huge hits, and this includes Waze, a Google-owned GPS navigation software app.
For those unfamiliar with Waze, it was created by an Israeli start-up and acquired by Google in 2013 for a reported $1.1billion.
The app works to collect map data, travel times, traffic information from local authorities as well as communities to provide routes and real-time traffic updates.
It can even set the user’s preferred gas stations or sort options based on price or brand before routing you there.
The app also provides the option to carpool, giving users an option to share the cost of commuting.
Waze Lays Off Staff
The navigation app has made a major decision to close down its sales office in Singapore and lay off 5% of its global workforce.
This would make up 30 out of 555 total employees globally.
According to The Straits Times, no numbers were provided on how many Singaporean employees were affected by the layoffs.
Apart from Singapore, Waze will also be closing several other offices in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions, citing refocusing on business aims.
Because Fewer People Are Driving Now
The reason for this comes as no surprise as transportation is one of the many industries facing an economic impact.
The number of people driving has reduced with many cities sent into lockdown and working from home has become commonplace.
So lesser people needed that daily commute or much travelling.
How Waze Makes Its Money
I know, you’re wondering, how do fewer people driving equate to less money? After all, isn’t Waze just a navigation tool?
Well, they are, but they’re so much more.
Other than providing real-time information for drivers (provided by other drivers), they also offer advertising services for smaller brands at affordable prices.
These ads will show up in the form of pins, search results (whenever people search for location), and digital billboard ads.
In a note to the staff, the Chief Executive Officer, Noam Bardin, said Waze users in many cities and countries are driving less or have stopped driving entirely because of the ongoing pandemic.
He also wrote that there has been a significant fall in carpools and advertising revenue.
Moreover, the app also saw a decrease in monthly active users, and the driven kilometres, driven by its customers driving while using Waze.
According to Mr Bardin’s memo, the affected employees will receive a severance package that includes career transition opportunities within Google, outplacement services from the date of the notice through six months after employment, financial help and eligibility for year-end bonuses, and healthcare benefits.
What’s Ahead For Waze
On the mention of refocusing of business strategies, Mr Bardin stated, “this has forced us to rethink priorities and we have decided to focus our resources on product improvements for our users, accelerate our investments in technical infrastructure, and refocus our sales and marketing efforts on a small number of high-value countries.”
In other words, they’re going to make Waze better and downsize sales and marketing efforts to high-value countries (read: likely not Singapore since the market size here is too small liao).