InMobi: First ever Unicorn startup of India in 2011

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InMobi : Case Study

Introduction

InMobi: Startup of India
InMobi: Startup of India

When we debate the leading startup of India, InMobi would unquestionably stand in the Prime 5.

Established by Naveen Tewari (currently serving as CEO), Mohit Saxena, Amit Gupta, and Abhay Singhal in 2007, it was formerly known as mKhoj.

InMobi, a leading startup of India, is an Indian multinational technology company specializing in mobile marketing and advertising. With its headquarters in Bangalore (India), it became the first-ever Unicorn startup of India in 2011.

The 1500+ employees strong company has 22 offices in 12 countries across 5 continents. Backed and financed by SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Ram Shriram’s Sherpalo Ventures, and UC-RNT Fund, InMobi provides mobile advertising solutions and competes with giants like Facebook and Google in the field.

As of current status of the company, it is used by world’s top brands, agencies, and developers to improve their business value by delivering compelling value propositions to their target customers. It offers a number of solutions to engage, retain, and encourage their global consumers in a friendly way using mobile advertising.

Early Days

mKhoj

InMobi was known as mKhoj when it started in 2007. It used to be an SMS based search and monetization business.

Talking of SMS, how can you miss Signal Private Messenger!!!

The name mKhoj is a combination of “Mobile” and Hindi word “Khoj” (which means ‘to search’).

Initially, the company was focused on growing in Asia and Africa; but later entered America. With offices in 12 countries around the globe (India, the United States and China to name a few), InMobi is a global success.

Fundings

InMobi Funding

InMobi, a startup of India, has managed to raise a total of US$215.6 million in three rounds of fundings.

InvestorsAmount Year
Mumbai Angels (Angel Fundings)$500,0002007
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures (Series A)$7,100,0002008
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures (SeriesB)$8,000,0002010
Softbank (Series C)$200,000,0002011
Softbank (Venture)$5,000,0002014
Tennenbaum Capital Partners (Debt Financing)$100,000,0002015

With the steady upswing in funding and finances, it’s growth has been enormous. Following graph illustrates the same:

Acquisitions and Partnerships

Acquisitions

  1. In August 2011, InMobi acquired US-based mobile advertising solutions provider Sprout, backed by Polaris Partners. Sprout was renamed InMobi Studio in 2012.
  2. In July 2012, it acquired MMTG Labs, a San Francisco-based start-up.
  3. The company went on acquiring Metaflow Solutions.
  4. In Jan 2018, it acquired Los Angeles based Aerserv for US$90 Million in cash and stocks, InMobi’s biggest acquisition till date.
  5. In November 2019, InMobi’s Glance acquired Roposo.

Partnerships

  1. In June 2018, Microsoft Corp declared its global coalition with InMobi.
  2. In December 2016, it partnered with US-based Tapjoy.
  3. It partnered with Integral Ad Science in December 2016.
  4. In October 2016, it partnered with Moat, a New York-based company.
  5. Partnered with Amobee.
  6. In September 2015, InMobi entered a monetisation alliance with China-based APUS group. The partnership gives the company access to an estimated 500 million users in China as well all APUS users in India.

InMobi’s Glance

Inmobi's Glance

Glance, the world’s leading lock-screen platform, delivers easily accessible content that may be of interest to you such as news, images, text snippets, gifs, infographics, stories, gaming experience, videos, wallpapers, audio-visual programs, or such other information (“Content”).

Glance platform allows easy access and helps you to find relevant information about your interest. You can subsequently discover and access more information about specific content, either within the Glance platform or by accessing the links to third-party webpages, applications or other such landing pages. 

In December 2020, Glance raised $145 million from technology giant Google and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital, an existing investor in the company. InMobi’s Glance earned unicorn status after the findings. For a startup of India, this was indeed a huge success.

Future of InMobi

Being one of the leading startup of India, it has lots to carry on its shoulder for its future endeavor.

Naveen Tewari said, “InMobi is valued in between $2.5 to $3 billion. With its presence across 200 countries, the company is sitting on a verge of huge opportunity.”

He further added, “The overall estimated advertisement market size being of $650 billion in 2020 is expected to be $200-$250 billion for mobile advertising.”

Tewari openly admits his failure with his initial idea of mKhoj. He said, “During the initial days, we were very much confident about our idea. People want information about various deals in their city, and will happily pay for an SMS. We were lucky to get $500K in initial round of funding from Mumbai Angels. We thought we had cracked it. But we crashed.”

InMobi—a company which had a vision, mission, commitment, and passion—is a story of an Indian company that dreamed to go international and materialized it with its hard work and dedication.

Enjoyed reading Startup of India article? Interested in more case studies? You can find them here.

Danish Abbasi

Danish Abbasi

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