ThinkNear has been acquired by Telenav. ThinkNear is a hyperlocal mobile ad startup set up by New York TechStars graduate Eli Portnoy.
It was just twenty months ago that I was still at Amazon and so I am humbled and amazed that today we are announcing that the company that John and I started in my dining room has been acquired by Telenav.
It has been a tremendous journey getting here, and I am ecstatic about the opportunity before us. You can expect to hear more about the cool things we will be doing together in future posts. For now, I want to focus on thanking the many, many people who helped us get here.
During one of the early days of TechStars and after a particularly harsh day, I tweeted “Startup are like roller coasters…except there are no seatbelt and a lot of people do end up falling off.” We definitely had our share of downs, but we were fortunate to experience many more ups. However, we would have certainly fallen off without the help of an amazing number of people who gave us of their time, insight, and help.
Without Roger, Ben, Brad, Justin, Joey, and the entire team IA’s help, support and faith in us nothing would have been possible. They wrote us a check even before I had a deck and have been a tremendous partner at every step of the way. Without them I would still be at Amazon.
David Tisch, Adam Rothenberg, and David Cohen of TechStars opened up so many doors for us and accelerated everything we did. The three months we spent locked in 841 Broadway were the cornerstone and platform on which everything else was built. They also personally invested in us and their support will be forever appreciated. Micah Rosenbloom acted as my coach, cheerleader, and advisor. I knew I could turn to for honest feedback whenever I needed it and he could help guide me through the tough decisions. Derek Van Straaten helped us understand the publisher perspective. Stu Libby helped us figure out how to sell and changed our business. Nat Turner’s always had perfect insight into the right strategy and uncanny insight as to how to execute it.
Lewis Gersh and team Metamorphic were amazingly helpful throughout and were hugely supportive. My only regret in selling the company is not to be able to work more closely with them. Patrick Eggen from Qualcomm defined for me what a benefit a strategic investor can be and helped us truly understand the mobile landscape. Matt Turck defined what a great angel is by always being available, making great introductions, and rolling up his sleeves to help us. I also want to thank Jon Frankel and Michael Yavonditte (FFVC), Rich Miner (Google Ventures), Jay Levy (Zelkova Ventures), Ed Sim (BoldStart), Mark MacLeod (Real Ventures), Ben Sun, and Bill Boebel for believing in us and trusting us with their money.
Nothing would have been possible without the amazing team at ThinkNear. Nowhere is this more true than John. He is a superb technologist and an amazing co-founder. He not only built an amazing product, but a world-class engineering organization. He also put up with my crap and worked insanely long hours even by my standards. David, MXL, Kamil, Kim, Michelle, Brian, Mikey, Shaheen, and Anthony are by far the best team I have ever worked with. It doesn’t even come close. Each one is a superstar and I am so excited to continue building amazing things with them. Thank you for passion, persistence, skill, and love of the product.
Finally and most importantly I want to thank the people who kept me sane throughout this experience and allowed me to pursue my dreams. My parents and siblings were always there for me, believing, supporting, and encouraging. I want to thank my kids who make every sacrifice worth it and who are ultimately the reason I worked so hard and pushed myself so far. They are incredible and beautiful and the most important part of my life. And finally, I want to thank my wife Judy who believed in me when no one else did. She gave me the support to do something crazy and risky, and encouraged me to do what I love. She is the ultimate wife and partner.
Thank you for all of the help and I can’t wait for chapter two; Scout Advertising!