Aloha, TechHuians - I am happy to announce to the local tech community that Sprout has been acquired by InMobi, nearly six years to the day from when we started our dot-com venture in Honolulu under the name ChipIn. Here's some of the press about the acquisition:
After we launched, Hawaii Business News covered ChipIn's story over a two-year series of articles - we wanted to present as accurate an account as possible of what it was like to grow a dot-com startup in Hawaii so others could learn from our experience. We very honestly described how often we changed our business model and technology, the pitfalls of doing business in Hawaii and our fights with the Tax Department, the difficulty of creating a good team from the middle of the Pacific, and our successes:
But after two years of giving the group donation concept a good try without getting much traction, we decided to take a 180-degree turn and evolve the company into something very different - a Flash widget maker - and then after that, a Flash and HTML5 ad creation tool. Because technology changes so often, what's most important is having a quality team and perseverance. You can't run a successful startup without either. But we had both, and ultimately found the most useful fit for what we had built.
As I write this the Sprout team has been just a few days back from a two-week stay in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), India, where we worked on integrating our platforms, organizations, and processes. We're excited to be part of such a talented, fast-moving, and international engineering effort, and now that we have at least seven offices strategically located around the globe, we'll be able to take our technology and solutions worldwide. Nevertheless InMobi realizes that Sprout started in Hawaii and is committed to keeping the team located in Honolulu - believe me, everyone in every office would love to visit and work here! Rather than thinking of us as a local company that's been bought by a foreign company, think of us as a local company that has now become a global startup, with the ability to attract business, talent, and partnerships from around the world.
I want to thank the HTDC (which has been running the Manoa Innovation Center) for maintaining its commitment to growing tech companies like ours. For dot-coms the MIC is the primary center of innovation in the Hawaiian Islands and what we constantly tell our international partners is the "Silicon Valley of Hawaii". I started working at the MIC in 1993 as a student intern doing game programming and have watched it evolve and grow over the years. Without such a facility, coupled with the inspiring beauty and mix of resources in and around Manoa, the startup landscape in the islands would be significantly impacted. I also want to thank our many local investors who believed not just in our original concept but more importantly our team, supporting us through countless technological and business shifts. We could not have reached this point without you.
What have we learned so far?
Out of these two facts emerge a number of things that can be done to encourage more dot-com activity in the state:
Let's build the world we want to see!
Chief Designer, InMobi