TechStars’ New York greatest success story to date? ThinkNear, a hyper-local mobile ad service that was acquired today by Telenav for a whopping $22.5 million.
Telenav is a GPS navigator for your smartphone. With this buy-up, it will launch a new mobile advertising unit called “Scout Advertising” that will investigate new ways to connect with retailers and brands, and provide a new source of revenue for the company.
This provides much-needed legitimacy to TechStars, which competes for technical talent with a growing number of accelerator and incubator programs, including Y Combinator and StartEngine.
In September 2011, its New York branch was featured in a 7-episode series produced by Bloomberg TV. The show followed six startups in the program, and their drama-filled struggles to build a company and raise funding. At that time, none of the startups in the TechStars New York alumni network could claim a successful exit.
ThinkNear, a Los Angeles-based startup, began its life as a yield management tool for local businesses. However, the attempt to drive foot traffic into a store during slow hours failed as company simply could not attract a base of users. It pivoted to an advertising company that can target consumers within a 100m of their location.
TechStars was founded by entrepreneurs Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis — it’s a 13-week program that is held in a handful of cities around the country and is differentiated by a focus on mentorship.
Read more about the spring class of TechStars’ companies here.