New York City- with its skyscrapers, millions of people and eclectic neighborhoods- can be hard to get around if you’re not from there.
This is what Chinedu Echeruo encountered in 1995 when he moved to the Empire State. The Nigerian native, now 38, worked on Wall Street. Ten years after making his own way around the city, Echeruo created HopStop, an online city transit guide offering door-to-door directions from buses and subways.
“Every entrepreneur starts off thinking ‘What’s a problem I can fix?’ The problem for me was how to get from Point A to Point B in New York,” Echeruo told The New York Times (LINK: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/01/technology/01hop.html).
The popularity of the NYC HopStop site led to offshoot sites in other U.S. cities, including Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and San Francisco. It even spread internationally, to London and Paris, and has a free app available on most smartphones.
Chinedu Echeruo is making history… as an innovator who took his personal experience of navigating through New York City and created a site that would help others find their way around more easily. He was named Black Enterprise Magazine’s 2007 Small Business Innovator of theYear and was listed in their top 40 Under 40 list.
What’s next for Chinedu?
The Harvard Business School graduate is now a partner in a private equity firm in Accra, Ghana.
A little-known fact about NYC Subway system
In 2010, the average ridership for the New York Subway system over the year totaled more than 1.6 billion people.
For more information, click here.
THE GRIO’S Q & A WITH CHINEDU ECHERUO
Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?
A: I left HopStop in 2009, to join Constant Capital as a partner, and head of the Principal Investing group. Constant Capital (Constantcap.com) is a West-Africa based investment bank and private equity firm. I currently live in Ghana.
Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?
A: I am very interested in philosophy.
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
Fortuna farvis fortius means; Fortune favors the brave
Q. Where do you get your inspiration?
A: Just like many entrepreneurs, I am inspired by finding solutions to problems. I see problems as opportunities to design and create businesses.
Q: Who are/were your mentors?
A: All the members of my family.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?
A: I wouldn’t advice people to chase dreams. Instead chase what inspires you and makes you happy. They can very different things.