Technology giant Apple has acquired HopStop.com, the startup venture established by Nigerian entrepreneur Chinedu Echeruo, for an undisclosed amount, according to Mashable and Bloomberg. HopStop is a mobile application that provides an online city transit guide for over 100 metropolitan areas worldwide.
The move comes hot on the heels of Apple’s acquisition of Israeli mapping startup Waze, in an attempt to increase and enhance Apple’s own mapping software and services for their devices.
Echeruo was born in Nigeria and grew up in Lagos where he attended Kings College. After completing his studies, he moved to the US in 1995 and obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS from Syracuse University.
According to Nigerian blog Bella Naija, the idea for HopStop came after Echeruo relocated to the US. “When Chinedu first moved to New York City in 1995, it was pretty difficult for him to navigate the busy city with ease. This ‘problem’ sparked the creation of HopStop a few years later.”
He worked as an analyst at investment banks and hedge funds such as J.P Morgan Chase, and in 2005 founded HopStop. The company has been making in-roads in technology ever since, and in 2011 HopStop was named one of the top 100 fastest growing software companies in the United States.
Echeruo stepped down as CEO in 2009, and according to Bella Naiji, he felt it was the right thing to do. “Chinedu stepped down as CEO of HopStop in 2009 to make way for someone who was better suited to lead the company towards its goals and objectives. As entrepreneurs, it is easy to keep clinging on to power – know when to step aside. Our long-serving African presidents can certainly learn from this example. In his own words, ‘I Had to Check My Ego at the Door’,” they wrote.
According to ATL Nightspots, “he founded and raised nearly $8 million for his two U.S based internet companies; Hopstop.com and Tripology.com. Tripology.com was acquired in 2010 by American travel and navigation information company, Rand McNally.”
Even though he is not actively involved with HopStop anymore, he is already working on his next project – focused on small businesses in Africa.
“There is no reason why every entrepreneur should have to reinvent the wheel every single time in all the countries in Africa. My idea is to essentially to have one place where a budding entrepreneur can access a template for starting a business, and then customize it to suit their own situation. Essentially a business-in-a-box,” he said during a TED X in Nigeria.
As part of his accolades, he was named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the year and listed in the magazine’s Top 40 under 40. He is currently a partner and head of the Principal Investing group of West Africa based investment bank Constant Capital.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor