Nigerian Startup, HopStop, acquired by Apple for 1 million dollars

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When I tell my friends I am not designed for business, they are quick to ask whether I would be happy to be an employee forever. Yes, that ‘employee forever’ talk. However, I understand them very well. Apparently, no one wants to be bossed around and the scape goat for many is starting a business!

Well, I do not look at it that way. My opinion really would not matter right now but what I don’t get is why so many young innovators and business people around the world are happy to have the tag CEO in a company that is already suffocated and does not seem to have any sense of direction. It is not about optimism. It should be more of logic.

“I had to think clearly about my ego, I had to check that at the door”. Chinedu Echeuro really should be an inspiration to many wallowing entrepreneurs who only think funding, donors and startup hubs are the only answer to a stagnating business.

After so many years of time and money investment, the company seemed not to have anything more to offer its consumers. It was not about the product. The CEO was the problem. He felt that the company needed new energy to push the company further and he was sure that was not him.

After four years of leadership, it was quite a struggle letting his brainchild go. Something he really worked for and gave selfless dedication. Most of the time company founders opt to ‘die’ with their companies than give it new life which means changing management. Which is what we must all grow out of lest we will all carry around CEO tags of wrecked startups.

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It is okay to it let go

Termed the most useful and greatest app of our time by users around the world; Tripology an interactive travel referral service focused on connecting travelers with travel specialists and Hopstop a mobile and online application that provides mass transit directions door-to-door mass transit, taxi, walking, biking and hourly car rental directions in major metropolitan markets, still lead in the application world for different reasons.

Both applications have been designed to help users manoeuvre around places they are not so familiar with. The x-factor of the two companies founded by Chinedu Echeruo’s is their interactive nature.

Tripology offers travelers the best of both worlds, combining a content-rich online experience with access to travel specialists with expertise in the type of travel they seek. Travel specialists bring a wealth of knowledge and real value to travel planning.

Tripology’s user-friendly consumer website,, has been appropriately designed to be easy and risk free for consumers to use when they seek the expertise of a travel specialist. Available free to consumers, Tripology utilizes proprietary technology to match traveler requests with travel professionals.

As the company touched base in the industry, one of the major investors pulled out rendering the company to hard times. In 2010, the company was however acquired by American travel and navigation information company, Rand McNally, which brought with it fresh breath to the company. Today, the platform has matched thousands of travellers with the right travel specialists around the world. Tripology unlike other platforms pays attention to the consumer’s budget, preference and sketchy thoughts about an apparent destination.

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Earlier launched in 2005, Hopstop would be the world’s next big thing. In 2011, HopStop was named one of the top 100 fastest growing software companies in the United States and ranked 1,182 overall. Among its major functions include Nearby Stations, which allows users to find subway or bus stops near an address, as well as providing transit maps and schedules. HopStop also calculates calories burned and per passenger carbon emissions savings for each transit route. The application currently provides directions in 100 metropolitan areas worldwide.

In July 2013, Apple acquired HopStop for $1Billion and now stands as one of the top transit apps for Apple products. The move was seen as Apple’s plan to bolster its map offering in the same breathe countering rival Google after its acquisition of Waze.

Currently, Echeruo is working on yet another venture but this time, focused on small businesses in Africa. Dubbed ‘a business in a box’, the former analyst at investment banks and hedge funds is looking to provide one place where a budding entrepreneur can access a template for starting a business, and then customize it to suit their own situation

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