In a bid to shore up its mobile and Web mapping infrastructure, Apple has confirmed a purchase of Nigerian entrepreneur Chinedu Echeruo‘s (pictured) HopStop.com application. With Google buying the Israel-based Waze map application for a reported $1.1 billion, it has been rumored that HopStop’s acquisition was worth a similar amount. But thus far, Apple has not revealed the terms of the deal.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal’s “All Things Digital” blog, HopStop empowers Apple’s map program by providing access to a portion of the mapping landscape it had yet to cover: mass transit directions. The move has been seen by many analysts as the tech-giant’s largest push to compete with the industry-leading Google Maps service. In fact, Google has been providing map data to Apple since 2007.
As an entrepreneur, Echeruo has founded both HopStop and Tripology, after stints working as an analyst for J.P. Morgan Chase. Echeruo also made his mark in the hedge fund world, working for AM Investment Partners for a time. Echeruo grew up in Eastern Nigeria and was a student at Kings College in Lagos. He later came to the States to attend Syracuse University and Harvard Business School before founding his businesses.
Although the sale of HopStop.com should be lucrative as expected, Echeruo has no intentions of becoming a boardroom fat rat. He is already at work on another small business with a focus on working with companies in his homeland.
HopStop is based in New York and provides door-to-door subway and public transit directions in 140 metropolitan areas in iOS, Android, and web formats. In 2011, it was named one of the top 100 fastest-growing software companies.