According to a report by the US Interactive Advertising Bureau, the global mobile advertising market grew 83% last year to $8.9 billion. The mobile ad market was led by search advertising, which raked in 53% of global mobile advertising revenues at $4.7 billion for the year. In 2011, search advertising on mobile generated $2.5 billion in revenues. Display advertising revenues grew 87% over the year and accounted for 39% of global mobile advertising revenues in 2012, while ads through messaging accounted for 8.5% of the market. Another report by Gartner projects the market to grow to $11.4 billion this year. Gartner expects the market to be worth $24.56 billion by the year 2016.
Bangalore, India–based mobile technology firm InMobi was founded in 2007 by IIT Kanpur alumni, Naveen Tewari, Abhay Singhal , Amit Gupta and their friend Mohit Saxena. InMobi was launched as a mobile search venture under the name mKhoj. But when the mobile search idea did not take off, the founders changed their plans and ventured into mobile advertising through InMobi in 2009. Today InMobi offers mobile advertising solutions for some of the world’s leading brands, developers, and publishers.
The product portfolio includes an Ad Tracker that helps visualize and track ad campaign return on investment. The platform delivers real-time reports for ad campaigns across multiple ad networks. InMobi Ad SDK is a monetization platform that uses simple integration tools and enables developers to monetize sites and apps with ads from global brands and developers. The platform boasts of being able to deliver a higher eCPM and user engagement besides providing detailed analytics of in-app user behavior. Their ad platform, the InMobi Studio is a simple platform that allows for a faster creation of mobile rich media ads that can be deployed across multiple platforms for both mobile and tablet devices. As part of its analytic offering, InMobi has a Lifetime ValuePlatform (LTVP). This is a free mobile platform that provides analytics on user behavior, including time spent on an ad and purchase behavior. Finally, the App Publish tool is a free app that helps developers instantly submit their apps to more than 130 unique app stores in a few clicks. Developers can also track the number of downloads and revenue generated across multiple channels.
InMobi claims that its tools help agencies and advertisers create rich media ads that have reached more than 578 million mobile users across 165 countries. That is phenomenal growth compared with the 1.5 million users it helped reach in 2008. InMobi is now the world’s second-largest mobile advertising solution provider after Google’s AdMob.
InMobi’s financials aren’t published widely. However, market reports suggest that it operates at an annual revenue run rate of more than $100 million. It has big plans and hope to cross $1 billion in revenues within the next few years.
To date, InMobi has received $216 million in venture funding from investors that include Mumbai Angels, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sherpalo Ventures, and Softbank. Its most recent round of funding was held in 2011, when it raised $200 million from Japanese investor, Softbank, at an undisclosed valuation. Analysts estimate that the funding would have resulted in InMobi being valued at nearly $1 billion. InMobi is now rumored to be preparing for an IPO – speculation that has neither been confirmed nor denied by the management.
Since that round of funding, InMobi has been expanding its talent base, making acquisitions and growing their presence worldwide. They have grown beyond India and have offices in European and US locations.
Earlier this year, InMobi announced the acquisition of UK-based developer Overlay Media. Overlay is known for its computing technology, the Context Engine, which collates information of mobile device diagnostics and other data such as battery power and user location which will help InMobi deliver more personalized and targeted ads.
InMobi is one of the most successful ventures out of India that has achieved global scale.