Meet Nigerian Tech Expert Who Built $1b App For Apple To Help Americans With Directions
Published by Face2faceafrica.com
Chinedu Echeruo is a Nigerian self-proclaimed serial tech entrepreneur, who became popular after his company was acquired by Apple for $1 billion.
Forbes has named Echeruo as one of the “10 Most Powerful People in Africa,” and has been featured in Bloomberg, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC and more.
He earned an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School in the United States and went on to work at J.P Morgan Chase, an investment banking company and AM Investment Partners, a $500 million volatility-driven convertible bond arbitrage hedge fund respectively.
However, Echeruo left the investment world to start his software company, Hopstop in 2005. Whilst in New York City, Echeruo had gotten tired of getting lost in New York City’s transport system and that borne in him an idea to start a navigation service for pedestrians.
He invented a service that would help people get door-to-door mass transit, walking, biking, and taxi directions from various parts of the country and other parts of the world.
HopStop quickly made a name for itself in the location-based service industry covering over 300 cities throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
It won Black Enterprise’s Small Business Innovator of the Year Award in 2007 and was subsequently named one of the top 100 fastest growing software companies in the United States.
Reportedly, by 2010, Echeruo’s service had grown 250% from $574,268 to $2 million in revenue and then an estimated $5 million in 2012, attracting the attention of tech giant Apple Inc., who acquired HopStop for an estimated $1 billion.
“There is no doubt that Apple paid a large sum for HopStop. There is a gold rush for mapping apps like it,” Jim Thatcher, a researcher who specializes in mobile mapping technology said.
After Apple’s acquisition of HopStop, Echeruo went on to become principal at Constant Capital Partners Ltd – a boutique investment bank and personal investment company in West Africa.
Echeruo, the digital guru also founded another U.S-based internet company called Tripology.com, an interactive travel referral service focused on connecting travellers with travel specialists which was also later acquired in 2010 by Rand McNally and is now owned by USA Today, according to Forbes.
The serial entrepreneur wasn’t done innovating, he launched a “cause-driven” social platform called Gigameet which is now known as MindMeet which made him a recipient of the 2019 “World’s Most Innovative Company” award.
He is also the co-founder of the Love and Magic Company, a start-up studio that co-builds companies with innovative organizations.
Chinedu believes that individuals, empowered by imagination and information, can solve virtually any problem.