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2016 IPO Prospects: InMobi May Have Missed the Bus

Posted on Friday, Jun 24th 2016


According to eMarketer, worldwide ad spending is expected to reach $674.24 billion by the end of 2020. Mobile ad spending in the US in 2017 is expected to grow to $77.37 billion or 38.4% of total ad spending.

InMobi’s Offerings

Bangalore, India-based InMobi was founded by IIT Kanpur alumni Naveen Tewari, Abhay Singhal, Amit Gupta, and their friend Mohit Saxena. After getting his engineering degree and while working at Citifinancial, Amit realized that he did not want to be a software engineer but rather wanted to help businesses implement business IT systems. Within a few years, Amit left his job, set up a company within the business intelligence space. He along with Naveen then went on to set up mKhoj, a mobile search venture. When the mobile search idea did not really take off, the founders pivoted the business model to lean toward mobile advertising. Today, InMobi offers mobile advertising solutions for leading brands, developers, and publishers. For more on the entrepreneurial journey, read my interview with Amit.

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. They have seen over 200 billion monthly ad impressions and are used by over 1.5 billion unique mobile devices.

Last year, it launched MiiP, a commerce platform that helps mobile phone users discover and buy products that are relevant to them through targeted mobile advertising. Response to it was tepid in the US and China, but it gained 750 customers and clocked 2,500 transactions a day at an average order value of INR 1,000- INR2,000 ($15-$30).

InMobi’s Financials

InMobi recorded revenues of $262 million with a loss of around $40 million and cash reserves of $30 million in 2015. It 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.

InMobi’s Challenges

InMobi was in a good position last year. It was the single largest mobile advertising network globally. However, the rise of programmatic ad buying in the US and Europe and the growing dominance of Facebook in mobile advertising have made things tough for InMobi. It is now cutting down its 1000-strong workforce by 100. It has also been losing its top executives over the past 18 months. CFO Manish Dugar quit recently to join another start-up Practo.

Mobile ad networks that went public are having a hard time as well. Stocks of mobile ad networks that went public have dropped from $60 to $2 over the past two years.

InMobi has been aiming for an IPO in India for the past couple of years. Earlier this year, in reponse to speculations about its acquisition by Google, its CEO Naveen clarified that it is not for sale but is aiming for an IPO. However, in the face of these challenges, it is more likely to focus on improving its profitability than go public this year.

Photo credit:  nickolouse13/


This segment is a part in the series : 2016 IPO Prospects

. Airbnb Sees Skyrocketing Valuations
. Actifio Looks Ready
. AppDynamics May Sustain Unicorn Valuation
. Automattic Needs to Justify Valuation
. Avant Will Have to Wait and Watch
. BuzzFeed Feeds on Native Advertising
. Coupa Manages Expenses Expertly
. Datto Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later
. Is Uber Ready to Ride the Stock Market?
. Overfunded Domo Looks Promising
. Houzz May Unveil The Curtains
. DocuSign Looks Ready to Sign Up
. Illumio Rides On Security Trend
. Appears Ready to List
. Okta Prepares to Reveal Public Identity
. Palantir Wants to Stay Private
. Nutanix Files for IPO
. Medallia Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later
. Slack Prepares to Communicate with the Market
. Twilio Expected to go Public Soon
. Snapchat Needs to Up Monetization ASAP
. Zscaler Sets IPO as a Long-Term Goal
. Warby Parker Should Look Before Leaping
. MuleSoft is a Unicorn, but Detailed Financials Remain Unknown
. Apttus Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later
. Fanatics Expanding Its Playing Field
. Pinterest Finally Sees Revenues, But are they Enough?
. Tanium Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later
. ironSource Strengthening its Revenue Generating Capabilities
. Anaplan Getting Ready to Go Public
. SecureWorks is Ready to List
. IPO-Ready Cloudera Wants to Wait and Watch
. HelloFresh Puts its IPO Plans on Hold
. Is Stripe Lining up Next?
. Qualtrics Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later
. Skyscanner Bootstraps First from Scotland, Raises Money Later from Sequoia
. SurveyMonkey Will Likely Wait
. The Honest Company Makes the Online to Offline Model Work
. NantHealth Testing the IPO Markets, Yet Again
. BigCommerce Prepares to List
. Bloom Energy Likely to Stay Private
. Avast Software Preparing for a Listing, Yet Again
. Gusto Expands Beyond Payroll Processing
. InMobi May Have Missed the Bus
. Glassdoor Gearing up to go Public
. Human Longevity Leverages Machine Learning and Analytics to Increase Lifespan
. Blue Apron Cooking up an IPO
. Optiv Grows Inorganically
. Uber Eyeing Self-Driving
. The Trade Desk Files to List
. Deliveroo Delivers its Way to the Bank
. Selfie App Meitu Files to List on HKSE
. Apptio Files Despite Reduced Valuation and Mounting Losses
. Snap Snaps out of Chat Business to Justify Valuation
. From Bootstrapping to IPO, BlackLine Shows the Way

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