As founder of HopStop.com, Nigerian native Chinedu Echeruo has been helping New Yorkers navigate the city’s overwhelming mass transit system since 2005. Eager to improve its mapping tools, Apple Inc. recently acquired the popular online city transit guide, Bloomberg reports.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet confirmed the deal in a statement to ABC News: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
While terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, Google recently purchased Israeli mapping start-up Waze for $1.1 billion.
His own difficulties traversing through New York City while working on Wall Street inspired Echeruo to create a technological solution. Nearly 10 years later, the free mobile application and website HopStop.com assists travelers by guiding them to subway stations and bus stops in more than 300 cities worldwide, including London, San Francisco, Paris and Toronto.
“Every entrepreneur starts off thinking ‘What’s a problem I can fix?’ he told The New York Times. “The problem for me was how to get from Point A to Point B in New York.”
Hailed as Black Enterprise’s 2007 Small Business Innovator of the Year and listed in the magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 list, the serial entrepreneur also founded Tripology.com, a U.S.-based Internet company, in 2010. Prior to his launching a successful technology career, the 39-year-old attended Syracuse University and Harvard Business School. He then continued on to work for several years at J.P. Morgan Chase in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Leveraged groups.
Now a partner in a private equity firm in Accra, Ghana, Echeruo has set his sights on Africa, where he intends to put his solution-based innovation to good use.
“My idea is to essentially 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 in a 2012 TED Talk.
“There is no reason why every entrepreneur should have to reinvent the wheel every single time in all the countries in Africa.”
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