Success Voices: Chinedu Echeruo

Chinedu Echeruo first came to global limelight in 2013 when Apple Inc. acquired his app for $1 Billion. He built the HopStop app – an online city transit and navigation guide that was scaled to cover 600 cities around the world. It was reputed to aggregate about 5 million users monthly.

Chinedu’s story is a remarkable one – of grit, creativity and an embodiment of the triumphant entrepreneurial spirit. For anyone just starting out on their own paths, or already farther on along the way, there is a lot of lessons to be gleaned from Chinedu’s story.

1. Leverage on a Solid Educational Background:
Chinedu had his secondary education at Kings College, moved on to Syracuse University for his university education and then attended Harvard Business School. He spent some time working at hedge fund companies and finance groups of J.P Morgan Chase. In all those years, he honed his craft, dealing on finance and private equity transactions.

Now, while an argument can be made that not everyone has the opportunity to get such quality education, we cannot deny the fact that there are more opportunities springing up today that affords people the chance to get a good education. There are online learning platforms where anyone can take Ivy League courses for free. The key thing is to be able to leverage on such education to do work and build things that truly matter.

2. Aim to Solve Problems:
When Chinedu first moved to New York in 1995, he found it quite difficult to navigate the city. That was a valid problem – similar to the one faced by anyone who’s just moved into a new city. It was a problem Chinedu worked on solving, as he would build an app to do just that several years later. The utility of Hopstop was such that there grew to be as much as 5 million users of the app monthly. The adoption rate was good and they quickly scaled up to 600 cities.

After Apple acquired his app, Chinedu didn’t exactly buy a yacht and go off to an Island to spend the rest of his days. Being the serial entrepreneur that he is, he continued to build other businesses off of solving real problems.

The lesson here is to always strive to see problems not just as they are – problems, but as opportunities to create solutions that solve them and impact positively on the world. Every successful business endeavors to add value to the communities in which they find themselves in by solving real and relevant challenges.

3. Recognize What is Best For Your Company – Even When It’s Not You:
By the time Apple acquired Hopstop in 2013, Chinedu was no longer the CEO of the company. He stepped down in 2009 to allow someone else more suited to lead the company towards achieving its goals. That is remarkable vision and good judgement on his part to make that call. The company went on to be successful to the point that the biggest Tech company in the world acquired them four years later.

The lesson here is that people need to learn to think in terms of what is best for their companies or organizations. You have to be able to do what it takes to drive the company towards that goal with your leadership – or without it. If you notice a lapse in yourself, with the required skillsets or qualities, you either find someone more suitable or up your skills accordingly.

There you have it. Who are the other Success Voices you know of? We would like to hear about them – you may use the comments box to share with us.  Watch this space as we will bring you more Success Voices subsequently.

Image credit: Eurweb

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