Embark has been acquired by Apple, reports Jessica Lessin via 9to5Mac.com. Embark, from YC W12, makes mobile apps that make it easy to get around on mass transit. Embark currently covers 12 major transit systems across the U.S. and U.K., with apps on iOS and Android. This is Apple’s first acquisition of a company funded by Y Combinator.
Apple recently introduced its own Maps application. Apple had relied on Google Maps prior to iOS 6. By developing its own entirely new product, Apple has been forced to address quality control issues and lack of transit directions for people not traveling by vehicle. Embark helps solve both problems for Apple, providing proprietary mapping technology that works offline and local detailed travel routes.
Embark’s company blog states they previously won awards including Grand Prize in the MTA App Quest for its New York City app and Best Mobility App in NYC Big Apps 3.0. This past November, BMW invested in Embark through its BMW i Ventures Venture Capital Company.
Travel Services Funded By Y Combinator is a post I wrote this past June that included Embark. Smartphones and mobile technology continue to create new demand for companies in the travel industry. Y Combinator has already funded more than a dozen companies that provide travel-related services. Startups creating innovative solutions combining mobile and travel remain to have exciting prospects.