Acquisition

Cash Out! TechStars NYC Alum ThinkNear Acquired for $22.5 M.

Brace for not just local advertising, but local advertising with turn-by-turn directions provided.
3713d8a Cash Out! TechStars NYC Alum ThinkNear Acquired for $22.5 M.

ThinkNear founder Eli Portnoy. (Photo: LinkedIn)

Cha-ching! GigaOm reports that TechStars New York just got its first acquisition: 2011 graduate ThinkNear, a hyperlocal mobile ad startup, was acquired by GPS purveyor Telenav for $22.5 million. The startup will be incorporated into a newly launched mobile ad platform called Scout Advertising. It’s the largest TechStars acquisition thus far.

Not too shabby. 

ThinkNear started out peddling a yield management tool, with the idea that businesses would run ads to attract customers when sales were slow, and quickly picked up a $1.6 million round with IA and Google Ventures. But when that turned out to be an uphill battle, the startup shifted to a broader hyperlocal model, and now here we are.

Here’s what the acquisition will allow:

Now, advertisers will be able to use ThinkNear’s location targeting to reach consumers within 100 meters of any location. But the ads will tap Telenav’s Drive-To Advertising platform to provide browser-based GPS turn-by-turn directions to lead the person to the place that’s being advertised. That’s important for advertisers who want to measure their advertising ROI because they can see if someone arrives at a place after seeing an ad.

Advertisers who want any more guarantees than that will have to hire someone with a cattle prod to harass sidewalk passersby.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com