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Building India’s First Billion Dollar Tech Company: InMobi Co-Founder Amit Gupta (Part 6)

Posted on Saturday, Feb 15th 2014

Sramana: Given the growth you have been describing and the model you had for expansion, I imagine that everybody was willing to give you money. Who did you select and why?

Amit Gupta: Yes. For our next round, we spoke with a lot of potential firms but we ended up taking money from SoftBank. They are a Japanese company that invested $200 million. There is a big reason for selecting SoftBank. We liked their control and understanding of the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean markets. We felt they could assist us in those markets.

Sramana: What is your revenue split amongst the markets?

Amit Gupta: Our revenue split is very diverse now. In 2013, North America represented almost 35% of our revenue. EMEA and GPAC split the remaining revenue equally. We call ourselves a global company now and I believe our revenue splits back up that claim.

Sramana: What is interesting about your strategy is that you came into the U.S. last. This is a strategy that a lot of Indian companies need to follow. You went after Asia, Africa, and Europe first and came to the U.S. last. That may be a viable strategy for a lot of markets.

Amit Gupta: This was a very effective strategy for us.

Sramana: You are obviously passionate about the India story. Tell me more about your thoughts on the current Indian story?

Amit Gupta: When I compare the startup environment between what it was like when we started our company and what it is like today, I see a lot of differences. The entrepreneurship spirit has gotten a lot stronger. The social pressure of avoiding entrepreneurship is starting to leave. That is a very good thing. If you don’t take risk, you can never pursue this. I also find that entrepreneurs are willing to talk about what they are doing and that is huge.

If you talk to VCs or angels, you will hear them say that India does not have a lot of investing ideas. I have not heard anyone that has a decent team and a solid plan get turned away from a deal. There is a lot of money there for entrepreneurs in India. That has changed significantly.

More importantly, the domestic markets have started to pick up. It is very difficult to start and scale a business in India if the domestic market is not there. That is starting to change in India. There are companies who are getting good traction in the Indian market first. When those initial set of companies start to get well established, they are going to lead to a lot of subordinate companies that will get established off of that ecosystem.

Apart from all of that, there is now a huge momentum around Indian entrepreneurs taking on the global stage. It is no longer a U.S. and India service model environment. We are starting to see a lot of product-led groups. Indian entrepreneurs are finding good success building products for mobile devices because there are so many markets for those products.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Building India's First Billion Dollar Tech Company: InMobi Co-Founder Amit Gupta
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