Nokia Navteq Acquires Trapster

Pete Tenereillo, the founder of Trapster has apparently been acquired by Navteq / Nokia.  Navteq is a struggling  Chicago-based mapping company, that is a division of Nokia which is another struggling mobile phone maker that is quickly losing market share.  AutoBlog broke the news and said there were about five companies in the running and there was a bidding war for the company. The terms of the deal are not available. We are waiting to hear back from Nokia and Trapster.   

Pete is an engineer and a sports car enthusiast who founded the company to primarily help his fellow drivers slow down when police were near while driving through the roads of San Diego.  We met with Pete when shortly after he launched the application and only had a few hundred thousand users.  The company interest in working with us to verify our database of the fixed red light camera and speed camera locations.  We never licensed our database to Trapster but they suspiciously had most of the locations shortly thereafter.  It is not clear how they accumulated the locations in their database nor do we know how many they have. 

It has been wildly reported how many downloads they have for their application but no one ever seemed to know how many users they have on a regular basis to keep the data fresh.  The application has apparently received 9M downloads and is free.  It's very common for iPhone applications to have many downloads but a non-existent user base.   However, Trapster likely has many hundreds of thousands of users who share data, and it's impressive how they have scaled this capability as a small company.  

It's not clear if Trapster ever generated any subscription or advertising revenue from it but we don't think so. Trapster raised an angel round of fewer than one million dollars a few years ago and is based in San Diego.  We are not sure if they ever raised any more money than $1M or a VC round.  However, we would like to congratulate them on raising awareness about the application and accumulating so many users.  

As a disclaimer, we publish an open database of the fixed red light camera and speed camera locations and don't do a lot to prevent companies and people from copying it.  However, we are the largest database and most accurate database of red light cameras do date and no other companies have accepted our challenge to do a database comparison.  We do have a number of companies who license our database and are ethical about paying us for the data they use.  

It's great to see the company get acquired as there are several companies developing applications in Europe that are interesting in coming to the US.  Europe has 40,000+ photo-enforced cameras and it's a much larger and more mature business over there.  The US currently has only about 6,000 cameras but it's growing at a rate of about 20% per year.