Posted on Thursday, May 21st 2015
According to an
eMarketer report, the global advertising market is projected to grow 6% this year to $592.4 billion. eMarketer estimates mobile advertising to account for $64.3 billion of this spend, recording a 60% growth over the year. Total mobile advertising is estimated to grow to $158.55 billion by the year 2018 and will account for 22.3% of the total advertising spend that year. Billion Dollar Unicorn club member InMobi is helping brands realize the potential of mobile advertising.
Bangalore, India-based InMobi was founded by IIT Kanpur alumni Naveen Tewari, Abhay Singhal, Amit Gupta, and their friend Mohit Saxena. After graduating from his college and while working at Citifinancial, Amit realized that he did not want to be a software engineer but instead wanted to pursue his ambition of helping businesses implement business IT systems. Within a few years, Amit left his job, set up a company within the business intelligence space and began work with his former college-mate Naveen on setting up another business.
Soon, the two set up a mobile search venture called mKhoj. They focused their business model around SMS with a feature that let users send a short code query and the platform would then return the search results. But the
mobile search idea did not really take off, and the founders pivoted the business model to lean toward mobile advertising. Today, InMobi offers mobile advertising solutions for leading brands, developers, and publishers.
Their suite of products has helped simplify mobile advertising for brands. Their key products include a Native ad platform that lets users design ads and choose ad layouts best suited for their apps to drive monetization and customer engagement. The InMobi Ad SDK is a monetization platform that uses integration tools and enables developers to monetize sites and apps with ads. The InMobi Studio is another platform that enables faster creation of mobile rich media ads to be deployed across multiple platforms for both mobile and tablet devices. For improved targeting, InMobi also released Appographic Targeting, a solution that uses advanced targeting capabilities for improving customer monetization and provides a more robust tracking mechanism.
InMobi’s impressive product offering has helped them acquire a strong customer following. They have seen over 138 billion monthly ad impressions and have recorded over one billion monthly active users. InMobi claims that they have tracked over 2.6 billion app downloads on their platforms. In fact,
InMobi has become the single largest mobile advertising network globally and is giving competitors like Google and Facebook a run for their money. While Google accounts for nearly half of the digital mobile ad spend globally, their share is gradually being eaten away by Facebook. Many thus believe that Google may be looking for complete mobile advertising dominance through the acquisition of InMobi. Recent rumors involved a possible acquisition by them for an estimated $2 billion. But InMobi has denied any such discussions. InMobi has always been very patriotic to their Indian roots and for now are thinking of an IPO in India. Details of their IPO are yet to be finalized.
InMobi doesn’t disclose their financials. Analysts estimate that they had recorded
revenues of over $100 million back in 2012. Other reports peg their net revenues at $372 million for 2013. They are still expected to be operating at losses. InMobi claims that they were operating at a billion dollar revenue run rate as of 2014.
InMobi is venture funded so far with $220.6 million in venture funding from investors including Mumbai Angels, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sherpalo Ventures, and SoftBank. Their last round of funding was held in 2011 when they raised $200 million from Japanese investor Softbank at an undisclosed valuation. Analysts, however, pegged their
valuation at $1 billion at the time of the funding.
I recently met up with Amit Gupta again as part of a
1M/1M Roundtable. You can listen to him here.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book,
Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures. This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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