Former Hotwire president Neha Parikh took the helm as the CEO at Waze this week. Google has owned Waze since 2013 when it bought the popular crowdsourced navigation service for over $1 billion.
Parikh will replace former CEO Noam Bardin, who announced last year that he was leaving the company after almost 12 years. Bardin isn’t a founder of the company, but he has been the CEO almost since the beginning.
“Over the past months, we met with many great candidates but Neha Parikh stood out as someone who is truly passionate about Waze and our community, and is totally committed to championing all the great contributions that all of you are making. She has deep experience growing and scaling businesses at Expedia Group, and we have no doubt she will move the company forward,” wrote Hila Roth, global group manager at Waze, on the company’s community forum.
On that same community forum page, Bardin (aka "chiefwazer") announced in November 2020 that he would be leaving the Israeli company.
“Over the last 12 years, we have built something truly special together,” Bardin wrote. “Waze is the strongest it’s ever been, as a product, business, team and community. It's the right time for a new leader to join the company and move the business and brand forward.”
Bardin was reportedly considering leaving the company last year but then stayed on to see it through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You know, after more than 11 years I think it’s time to do something else,” Bardin told TechCrunch in November. “And it’s also time to bring someone in who is better suited for the next stage of growth.”
Bardin was frustrated by Google's corporate nature.
Bardin officially left Waze and Google in February 2021. In a PayGo article titled “Why did I leave Google or, why did I stay so long?” Bardin talks about his frustrations with the Google corporate nature.
“I was the naive start-up leader believing that I can build out Waze within Google to its full potential and conquer the beast, regardless of its nature. This irrational belief is critical for a startup leader but challenging in the corporate environment,” he wrote.
Bardin is credited with steering Waze through the Google acquisition back in 2013. In the PayGo article, he admits he's proud of what the company has accomplished within Google since then.
“I am confident that the Waze acquisition was a success. The problem was me - believing I can keep the start-up magic within a corporation, in spite of all the evidence showing the opposite,” he wrote.
Noam Bardin isn’t a founder of Waze.
Waze was founded in 2008 by three Israeli entrepreneurs—Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar, and Uri Levine. Bardin joined the company as the CEO in 2009. He has been instrumental to the company’s growth over the years.
When Bardin first started at Waze, only about 14,000 people were using the app. Currently, Waze has over 140 million users that drive over 24 billion miles each month.
What is Noam Bardin’s net worth?
There isn't much information available on Bardin’s net worth, but he did receive a chunk of change from the Google acquisition. Just how much he netted isn't clear. According to an article on MyBillionDollarApp.com, Bardin received “a few million dollars” from the transaction. Most of the proceeds from the sale went to the three Waze co-founders.