Nigerian tech billionaire Chinedu Echeruo is a serial entrepreneur who has made his mark on the global navigation technology through his transit and navigation app, HopStop.
In 2005, the tech entrepreneur developed the HopStop navigation app, which expanded to over 600 cities in the world. And in 2013, Apple acquired the app for $1 billion, and the Nigerian serial entrepreneur shot to the billionaire status.
After the sales, he continued to create companies such as Tripology, Love and Magic Company and MindMeet, previously Gigameet.
With numerous achievements, Chinedu established himself as a successful business innovator worth emulating. To start your entrepreneurial journey, here are some business lessons to learn from Chinedu Echeruo.
Never undermine the value of good education
Indeed, there are entrepreneurial success stories of people who dropped out of school to pursue their business ideas.
While this is a fact, they used the time to educate themselves and gain the needed knowledge about their new venture. For Chinedu Echeruo gaining the relevant knowledge proved invaluable.
Since he experienced a navigation problem in New York, he channelled his learning towards gaining all the needed knowledge and education.
After graduating from Kings College, he attended Syracuse University and Harvard Business School. After graduating, he worked at AM Investment Partners and J.P Morgan Chase. There, he enhanced his knowledge of finance and private equity transactions.
While not everyone can earn a degree from a prestigious school, good education and experience can strengthen and guide your entrepreneurial ambition.
Be a problem solver
In his early days of moving to New York, Chinedu could not find his way around the city. He discovered that it was a notable problem for people who had just moved to the city.
With this, he planned to proffer a solution to it. In 2015, he launched the HopStop navigation software he created. Since it was meeting a particular problem faced by the majority, the app user base grew. In a month, the app records up to 5 million users. With its high usage rate, it expanded to 600 cities.
In 2013, he sold the app to Apple for $1 billion. Being a serial entrepreneur, Chinedu built other companies such as MindMeet that proffer solutions to problems.
Failure is part of business, don’t get discouraged
Although the success stories of entrepreneurs are usually spotlighted, it is hardly rosy at the early stage for them.
Just like every business failure, Chinedu experienced his share. His first venture was farming. He tried breeding rabbits to solve the food problem on the continent. This, however, did not go as planned.
He said, “I had read somewhere that rabbits procreated a lot, and I thought if I could create a farm to breed rabbits, I would solve Africa’s food problem.
I convinced my mum and was able to start with two rabbits, and we built a cage and all. They ended up dying”.
This did not deter him from even trying another business idea after graduating from business school. He created Afrifaq, a marketplace for financial securities such as FX and African money markets. This also failed.
He said, “It didn’t work out quite well. So there have been good successes, and there have also been setbacks, but it’s still part of the journey”.
Always consider what is good for your business
Chinedu displayed that being the founder does not mean you have to be the chief executive officer (CEO). If there is a better person for the job, give the job to the person.
Although he was the founder of HopStop, Chinedu stepped aside as the CEO in 2009 to make room for someone else to lead the company while he acted as chairman.
Through the decision, the company went on to be successful to the point that the biggest technology company in the world acquired them four years later.
He said, “I think that’s a decision that many entrepreneurs struggle with because usually, the company is something they’ve invested lots of money, personal time and lots of things at the early stages of the business.
To give that to a stranger is very difficult to do. But from my perspective, I thought it was the best decision for the company, and the new CEO has done an excellent job of growing it”.
Develop with your Customers
People are dynamic, and they have endless wants. As people change and demand more, the HopStop is tailored to meet that need.
From its inception to its acquisition, HopStop has evolved with its customers’ needs as it changes. Its comprehensive mobile application is one clear illustration of that.