How do we get to know about a new product in the market? From family, friends or acquaintances? Yes, of course! But the pace at which new products are entering the market almost every consecutive day, it is not humanly possible to keep a track of all these innovations without a proper medium to help us out. Hence, what could be that means which constantly keeps us aware of the novelty and changes in the market? I think most of you guessed it right, and for those who are still trying to figure that out, we are talking about ‘advertisements’.
Advertisements are something which critically publicizes a product or service, projecting the key features and elucidating the USP of the same. Therefore, it is something which we cannot do without, keeping aside the exaggeration which some of them resort to. Another integral part of life today is the cellphone, without which we do not leave home nowadays. It has taken such an important place in our lives that we are more or less dependent on it for EVERYTHING!
The Idea On Which InMobi Is Built
The significance of ads as well as mobile phones was gauged by a visionary named Ṇaveen Tewari, and when he drew the equation, the result was ‘InMobi. This mobile advertising platform began as a search tool in 2007, which operated through SMS’s. Gradually, this search platform took up a new avatar with a change in its business model along with catering to people round the globe instead of keeping their services within the Asian perimeter. That’s when they decided to rename it and ‘InMobi’ came into being.
With this, a new wave of innovation hit the masses. As mobile phones are more accessible to people, and unlike computers they help us carry our world in the pockets, InMobi services gave people enough reasons to welcome it. As a result, this advertising platform attracted more companies helping them to reach out to a magnanimous number of the population.
The Vision Which Naveen Tewari Had…
As we have mentioned before, the CEO of InMobi had long assumed the importance of cellphones prompting him make his dream project in and around this technology. His dream was realized with the building of mKhoj, and it took shape when mKhoj became InMobi. His belief in this venture was so strong that he made many join in his dream. Some of the names, who played a vital role in building up InMobi as it is today, are three IIT graduates Abhay Singhal, Amit K. Gupta and Mohit Saxena.
The CEO of InMobi once said, “We wanted to be a global company. We had seen what happens when you keep your focus narrow, and we were not making the same mistake.”
One of the editors of Medianama.com, Nikhil Pahwa was quoted saying, “Investors are not just investing in InMobi and the idea behind it, they are investing in Naveen Tewari.”
The Mind Which Laid The Foundation
Naveen Tewari was born and brought up in Kanpur and schooled at Kendriya Vidyalaya. He then pursued a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Science from IIT Kanpur, post which, he joined the Harvard Business School and gained an MBA degree.
In 2000, he started working for McKinsey & Company, one of the major brands in the sphere of advertisement as a Business Analyst. He then switched to the capital and equity firm in 2004, where he worked as an Associate. After working there for a few months, he decided to venture into something new, and thus, he founded the India School Fund (ISF). This was his effort to take education to rural India and help the deprived lot who are capable of building our future. He is still associated with the project as the Chairman.
Tewari always had a driving force which made him want to create something his own, something which has both uniqueness and utility. This fire ignited the concept of the search platform which was SMS based, and when the idea was refurbished, the mobile ad giant InMobi was created.
InMobi’s First Office & HeadQuarter
The year 2007, saw the birth of this mobile advertising portal and in 5-years they achieved the success they are currently riding on. Now headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka, in its initial days they were based in Mumbai, where their work began with two rented servers.
The Estimated Net Worth Of The Founder And Company!!
According to certain sources, Naveen Tewari has a current net worth of Rs. 1668 crore as of 2015. With current annual revenues of $100 million, Tewari expects his company to join the billionaire club within the next three years.
The Business Model The Company Thrives On
The building block was closing the bridge between publishers and advertisers; needless to say, they have knit the thread in the best possible way. When a publisher generates some content on the web, they give it up for free, but what if they want to earn some revenue? They have to display ads on their page for which they will be paid by the advertisers. But to build this connection and gain from it is not as easy as it sounds. Thus, InMobi takes up the responsibility to draw in optimum utilization of the content along with the advertisements. They gain full knowledge of the local market which helps them in figuring out the target audience in a better way.
The other noteworthy way in which they build a better network between the publishers and advertisers is by extracting data on the basis of clicks. The data analysis is done to find out what else can be done to meet the requirements of the masses.
InMobi Received Funds
The first funding for this endeavor came from Mumbai Angels, a financial body in 2006. When the business model was changed, Naveen Tewari held meetings with head of financial institutions to bring in revenue for the project. His direction was clear-cut and he was able to drive home his point when meeting investors. This helped him go ahead with the new project.
The first round of investments for InMobi amounting to $7.1 Million came from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and Ram Shriram’s Sherpalo Ventures. This was the series A funding, which was followed by the series B funds from the same investors, which was worth $8 Million. The series C funding was provided by Softbank in 2011 which was a sum of $200 Million, and the next round of investment amounting to $5 Million, also flowed in from Softbank in 2014.
Challenges Faced While Getting Started…
Making people believe in a product which did not exist was not an easy task, so we can well assume the difficulties Naveen Tewari had to face to get funds for an idea which was this new. However, he had full faith in himself even though there had been innumerable occasion when he had to take ‘NO’ for an answer.
The first investment provided by Mumbai Angels was estimated to last a year, but it was over within nine months. This was when the quartet worked day in and day and realized that they were going wrong somewhere. They then had to rectify their mistakes and start anew. This meant they had to begin from grass root level, but this did not make them give up; rather embark on the journey with renewed zeal, and today we see how well their efforts paid off.
Secret Behind Their Sucess
They took the road which was less traversed and once they were on the road, they did not look back. This was Naveen Tewari’s baby project to which he provide his thoughts and hard work and helped it grow, eventually making a difference to the economic scenario. When asked about his entrepreneurship, Naveen said,
“I know that we really making an impact and fueling the growth of the industry. Being one of the causes for the growth of an economy motivates me to do more. I see things change on a regular basis and that drives me to come to office every day to see what the day has to offer and there is never a dull day. This is true not just for me but also for every person in my team since they all see the impact and how we are contributing.”
Mergers and Acquisitions Done To Remain In Competition
In 2011, InMobi acquired Sprout, a platform built using HTML5, which is now known as InMobi Studio, and the following year, they took over MMTG labs and Metaflow.
The co-founders of InMobi made an investment of $400,000 in the home service platform called Zimmber.
Threats Accompanying Their Success
Advertisement industry is vast and there are some names which gained popularity among the masses like AdMob and iAd as their parent companies are Google and Apple Inc respectively. These companies have cemented their position globally and this makes it easy for them to get more followers. Hence, when venturing into this functional area, InMobi comes in competition with these giant mobile ad platforms but Naveen Tewari and his comrades are here to stay, dabbling with innovation every single day.
Their new strategy which they call ‘pivot’ is something which will allow them to grab a knowledge of consumer behavior and the requirement of their clients from the analysis of data. This is another reason which will put InMobi in the race with huge international business entities such as Acxiom, Google and Experian.
With their forever growing business prospect, even the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter too are posing direct threat to this.
In recent times, rumor had it that Google is inclined in buying InMobi but CEO Naveen Tewari headstrong not to let his company be overshadowed by any big name rather work towards making it the biggest name in the industry.
He was quoted saying,
“We are the only large mobile advertising player outside of Google and Facebook. I would argue that anyone would be happy having us as an asset.”
“There’s a huge level of pride in taking this to an I.P.O. in India. And I think we’re going to do that.”
Controversies: Part & Parcel Of The Business
To keep themselves in the race, they had to go for a cost cutting measure in beginning of 2016, and this resulted in layoff of around 10% of their employees from the Bangalore office. Though a spokesperson from InMobi said that the employees left for various reasons and that they have hired more people, there are others who contradict this statement.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8dmZ2rtUMU (InMobi Founders story – Phase 2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxHb52DyCr0 (InMobi Founders Video – Phase 3)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ_ybGTSEus (InMobi Founders video – Phase 4)