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.
UPDATE 7/26/2011: TechCrunch broke the embargo, as usual, but Erick Schonfeld was nice enough to link back to this original story on the round.
ThinkNear has announced that Google Ventures, who the team met during their time at TechStars NY, is one of its backers. Other investors include Metamorphic Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, FF Venture Capital, Real Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, BoldStart VC, David Tisch, Bill Boebel, Ben Sun, David Cohen and Matt Turck.
“We had only planned to raise $1 million but got $2 million worth of interest before we stopped looking,” says Founder Eli Portnoy. “We chose mainly to raise from the mentors we met through TechStars, people we knew could add value.”
Venture capitalist Peter Thiel pushed the debate about whether a college education is worth the student debt past the tipping point–he’d rather pay smart kids $100,000-a-piece to build a start-up–but the argument has taken on a life of its own.
Entrepreneurs have long romanticized the notion of a boot-strapped, self-taught success and held a healthy skepticism over whether a classroom can prepare you for the business world. But Eli Portnoy, a TechStars alum/Harvard MBA and CEO of ThinkNear, a location-based services start-up that helps merchants drive traffic to stores during down periods, takes an updated look at the current landscape.
It’s no longer just a choice between going to college or venturing out on your own. With the proliferation of incubators and accelerators, especially top programs offering a credible alternative, Mr. Portnoy delves into the specifics, outlining the upsides of going to TechStars versus getting a Harvard MBA. His conclusion?