Telenav, Inc., announced today that it has acquired skobbler GmbH, the European-based navigation company with the highest rated OpenStreetMap (OSM)-based GPS navigation apps in the world. With this acquisition, Telenav brings the most successful OSM navigation experts in the world together as one team — including the founder of OSM, Steve Coast, who joined Telenav in 2013 — and becomes a major contributor to the creation of the open-sourced and most comprehensive map of the world, according to the announcement.
The acquisition closed on January 29 for consideration of approximately $19.2 million in cash and $4.6 million of company common stock.
“Crowdsourced OSM can power personalized navigation services like Scout — with highly detailed maps on a global scale,” said HP Jin, Telenav’s chairman and CEO. “We plan to offer Scout with OSM for much of the world. We have already made significant headway toward this goal in the U.S., including using OSM for our HTML5 version of Scout.”
OSM is the only crowdsourced and open-sourced map of the globe and, for many developers, it has become a clear alternative to Google Maps.
“Waze and Google — or, just Google now — provide similar mechanisms to improve their maps, based mostly on OSM’s innovations. With one big catch. It is very much their map. Not yours,” said Coast in his blog commentary today regarding the acquisition. “OpenStreetMap is different. All of the quality data contributed is openly available — just like Wikipedia. So, anyone can download, experiment and play with it freely. It’s not locked up beyond your reach.”
Since Coast founded OSM, the community has doubled year over year to more than 1.5 million registered editors, becoming a global community of local editors in every corner of the world. Its crowdsourced model publishes edits every minute on openstreetmap.org, resulting in maps that are detailed and up to date. For example, newly laid streets and newly developed areas can be updated on a regular basis and in real time. In addition, OSM allows for greater map detail for pedestrians such as alleys, sidewalks, parks, hiking trails, zoos, and even city trees.
Telenav has been an active contributor to OSM for more than three years, working closely with the community to enhance specific features needed for navigation, traffic and other future location-based services.
With offices in Germany and Romania, skobbler was the first company to launch a commercial navigation app using OSM (in 2010) for both Android and iOS devices and is available in app stores in 49 regions with worldwide map coverage. In order to do this, skobbler developed sophisticated algorithms that evolved OSM data from a display map to a navigable map.
skobbler’s apps are top ranked and highly rated in multiple countries including Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. skobbler’s CEO, Peter Scheufen, previously served as the CEO of Navigon, which became a leading GPS device manufacturer in Europe and was eventually purchased by Garmin. The other skobbler founders also held senior roles at Navigon before founding skobbler. Telenav expects that all skobbler employees will join Telenav as part of its OSM team, bringing significant industry-leading software expertise in location-based services, navigation and mapping.
“By joining our efforts with skobbler, we will build on our combined successes to bring the best mapping and navigation services to our customers around the world,” said Jin. “The benefits of an open source model will provide an enormous opportunity to change the economic models of navigation and other location-based services.”
“OSM is currently one of the most active and dynamic crowdsourcing communities and is growing at an explosive rate,” said Scheufen. “Our team lives and breathes OSM and so we are excited to join forces with Telenav to create the largest, most sophisticated, and smartest OSM navigation team in the world.”
In connection with the acquisition and in accordance with NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c), Telenav granted four employees of skobbler and its subsidiaries, upon the closing of the acquisition, restricted stock units for an aggregate of 634,920 shares of common stock.
These RSUs were granted outside of the existing Telenav stock plans and without stockholder approval pursuant to NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) with the following terms: each RSU vests as to 50% of the award on the anniversary of Acquisition and as to 50% of the award on the second anniversary of the Acquisition, subject to continued employment through each relevant date.