Fri Feb 8, 2019
Author: RV News Staff
Uri Levine might be best known for Waze, the traffic navigation app he co-created, but that’s just one of the startups he’s been involved with aimed at disrupting the status quo. When he’s not creating new tech firms, Levine travels the globe sharing his views on market disruption to assorted industry gatherings. Next month, he will bring those often-provocative observations to a panel discussion on “Industry Disruptors—How to Lead vs. Follow” to the first RVX: The RV Experience in Salt Lake City.
An Israeli self-described serial entrepreneur, Levine co-founded the wildly popular Waze app that helps users navigate traffic jams. He has since co-founded several other helpful consumer apps.
One area Levine admits to having little familiarity with is the RV industry. However, he believes this gives him an advantage when addressing an RV-centric audience.
“That’s the beauty of it, I can offer a different perspective and point of view,” he says.
While declining to provide a specific RVX panel discussion preview, Levine offers a teaser.
“Here is something to think about—disruptors are always newcomers. They are the ones that have nothing to lose. Existing vendors in a market cannot disrupt.”
Levine says no one thought the hotel industry was ready for disruption until Airbnb came on the scene. He says the RV industry has a lot of underutilized resources in need of efficiency disruption.
“Buying and holding an expensive resource that is being utilized infrequently is calling for disruption,” Levine says. “Think of Airbnb for RVs.”
Although he gained global fame with Waze, Levine doesn’t view that popular app as his greatest technological accomplishment. He’s been quite busy in subsequent years, starting and managing startups he believes will have greater significance. He cites FeeX and Moovit as examples. FeeX is an online service that helps users find and reduce fees in investment accounts. Moovit is an app that collects live public transportation data, offering users the best route for their journey.
“Since then I’ve built a dozen startups and many of them are going to make a bigger impact than traffic,” Levine says.
Disruption centers on how business is done, not necessarily a technological development, Levine says. He calls it a change in market equilibrium, which might be the result of a new product, new price level—he notes that gmail and Waze are free—a new pricing model, or new information that becomes available to either demand or supply side.
“Disruption is never about technology,” Levine says. “It might be that technology enables it, but it is about the way we are doing things. Imagine Uber for example. The technology enabled access to information of drivers that was not available before.”
Levine likes to tackle big problems. He says he views this as how he can create value. He offers another of his travel-related startup as an example.
Fairfly deals with what Levine describes as the biggest secret in the travel industry: what happens to airfare after someone books a flight. He says no one knows because they don’t check, but airfares constantly go up and down, before and after a reservation is made.
“For example, you pay X amount for a flight and a few days later the price is lower for the same exact flight,” Levine says. “If you could know this, you could cancel the old reservation and rebook at a cheaper price and save money, even when you take into consideration the cancellation fees.”
Levine resides in Israel and says there are few RVs in the country. He says he has not traveled in an RV, but hopes to do so in the future.