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Traffic Analytics Firm Inrix Becoming the Google of Traffic Info, Raises $37 Million

Real-time car traffic data company Inrix announced yesterday that it has raised $37 million in series D financing. Inrix generates traffic information based on speed and location information provided by GPS-enabled devices in more than 10 million vehicles, including cars with participating telematics systems and fleet vehicles. The company is using the funding to support continued growth opportunities.

Currently the company offers traffic data in 22 countries across North America and Europe and has over 100 million users. Inrix’s partners include Audi,  Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F),  MapQuest, Microsoft, NAVIGON, Tele Atlas, Telmap, TeleNav, and Toyota. For example, Inrix currently powers the popular Ford SYNC traffic and navigation services. Audi and Toyota currently use Inrix traffic services in some of their vehicles starting with such as the new Audi A6 in Europe and Toyota Entune-equipped Prius V and Camry in North America.

Inrix also offers traffic apps for smartphones and provides data to others, including nine of the top 10 traffic apps for the Apple iPhone and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platforms. With all these partnerships and licensing agreements,the company’s CEO Bryan Mistele said that his goal is to “be the Google of traffic info.”

Inrix isn’t disclosing sales, but Mistele said it’s been profitable for more than a year and sales have grown 85 percent annually over the past three. Post-funding, Inrix’s valuation is just under $500 million.

It plans to use the money to expand internationally, bulk up with acquisitions and global expansion, specifically on in-car services and mobile applications. Its major focus now is expanding in Europe and Asia and it’s in the process of opening offices in China.

The company has said that is plans to go public within the next year or two. After the company goes public, Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele said the company should end up with a valuation of perhaps $2 billion and generate close to $1 billion in annual sales within five years.

The new funding is from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers’ Green Growth Fund and August Capital. August was an early backer of Microsoft and is the largest investor in Inrix. Microsoft gets royalties from Inrix but doesn’t have a stake in the company. Roughly one-third of the company’s 100 employees have Microsoft backgrounds.

Inrix’s biggest competitors are Navteq and Tom Tom.