We’re celebrating Hanukah in Israel right now and given all the fun and festivities going on, we thought it would be a good time to look back over the past few months and highlight some of the tech trends we’re seeing in startup land in the Startup Nation.

As a caveat, these trends are based upon our deal flow – what we’re seeing on the ground.

So, Happy Hanukah and enjoy.

Trend 1/8: Social Driving

The problem: We’re seeing a lot of Israeli entrepreneurs attack the driving problem. Navigating, driving, and parking are all really inefficient processes that most of us spend a lot of time doing. We spend money, time, and frustration driving. Tel Aviv, like many other big cities globally, suffers from congestion and lack of available parking.

The solutions: Interestingly, many of the most popular driving apps have been developed in Israel. The solutions tend to cluster around overlaying social with driving data to aid navigation and parking.

  • Waze: Waze has emerged as the leading driving app, combining GPS/directions with the social component. Users report on accidents, traffic speed, even speed traps. Waze reportedly has 30M users, aided by Apple’s poor showing with its own maps product.
  • Parko: Earlier this year, Parko won Google’s Israel Mobile Challenge (judged, incidentally, by the Waze CEO). Dubbed Waze for Parking, the social parking app has developed technology to passively identify someone about to vacate their parking space, pairing him/her with someone looking to park. Parko is rolling out in Tel Aviv this year with U.S. expansion plans for early 2013.
  • Nirsham: There’s a whole movement afoot of driving vigilantism. Nirsham provides a multimedia platform for users to photo, post, and share traffic violations, road bullying, accidents, and parking violations.
  • GreenRoad: A company that has been sort of eclipsed by Waze’s success, GreenRoad is the leader in driver performance and safety management. It’s apps and in-car device provide a much needed feedback loop to drivers to ensure they stay safe and get where they’re going.
The future of driving: With social solutions to the driving problem, people are becoming more and more accustomed to sharing their location information. This transparency is fueling apps like Parko with peer-to-peer/network-level connectivity to help solve age-old problems. What’s interesting from a business model perspective, these applications are building hyper-local advertising networks to deliver really powerful messaging and opportunities to people on the move.
Which startup do you like in the social driving space?  Vote/add your ideas below.
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H/T: Thanks to OurCrowd’s David Stark for contributing to this piece.

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