Naveen Tewari, Founder, InMobi, The World’s Largest Independent Mobile Ad Network

ManishInMobi – Global Mobile Ad network

To be number one not just in India but the world takes a very special kind of Entrepreneur with a very special business idea. You might be thinking that such Indians are few and far between but Naveen Tewari the founder of InMobi has stepped up to the plate with inmobi.com. Globally recognized as “The World’s Largest Independent Mobile Ad Network”, InMobi has offices in London, San Francisco, Bangalore, Tokyo, Mumbai, Johannesburg and Singapore. Powered by the incredible ability to reach 185 million consumers in over 125 countries through more than 21.2 billion mobile ad impressions monthly InMobi is set to become a dominant force.

Yourstory learnt firsthand from Naveen about how he made InMobi the World’s Largest Independent Mobile Ad Network and why mobile advertising is the new frontier of Advertising.

What is the business idea that is at the heart of InMobi?

InMobi is the world’s largest independent mobile advertising network. InMobi provides advertisers, developers, and publishers with a uniquely global mobile advertising solution. InMobi, which more than doubled its network in the first 6 months of 2010, delivers the unprecedented ability to reach 185 million consumers in over 125 countries through more than 21.2 billion mobile ad impressions monthly. This includes over 11.5 billion impressions to more than 100 million consumers in the Asia Pacific region making it the largest mobile ad network in Asia.  Recently InMobi was selected to the 2010 AlwaysOn 250 as a company to watch in the global Silicon Valley.

ManishInMobi is venture-backed with marquee investors including: Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures. The company has offices in London, San Francisco, Bangalore, Tokyo, Mumbai, Johannesburg and Singapore.

What is the potential in your Mobile advertising services? What can it do for its advertisers?

Mobile advertising is the new frontier of advertising. It provides a reach larger than any other channel of advertising and a way to precisely target the audience. Mobile is a domain that is relatively new and has grown at an exponential rate. It is estimated that there will be 6 Billion phones by 2014 out of which at least 3 Billion will be on 3G. This means half the population of the world will be connecting to the internet via their mobile phones. This is the scope of the industry of mobile advertising.

By providing options for successful mobile advertising methods, an ad network such as InMobi can help fuel the entire mobile ecosystem. To begin with, since advertisers are able to precisely target the users, it results in users getting more relevant ads and hence improving the entire user experience. The more the advertising industry grows, content players who provide ringtones, wall papers etc. will benefit directly as more users download content. This means that operators will witness more and more data usage. More purchases lead to growth of the mobile commerce industry. Of late, big brands such as Reebok, Coca Cola, and Pantene etc. have also begun investing in mobile advertising seeing the potential of mobile. This just goes to show that an ad network can provide a lucrative opportunity to all players in the industry.

What makes your Mobile advertising business different from other advertising? Can you explain the InMobi business model?

InMobi is a mobile ad network, which works mainly with advertisers, publishers and app developers. Owners of mobile web sites and application developers usually have space on their mobile page/app, which is available for advertising. We bring in advertisers who would like to show their ads on this space with these mobile property owners to show the ads. We also provide options to target these ads to the right users by providing various targeting options like country, city, demographics, handset etc. This ensures that the right ads reach the right users.

InMobi has mainly 2 differentiators from all other ad networks.

The first is our understanding of local markets. A lot of advertising depends on the culture and social aspects of each region. InMobi has local ground support in many places and hence understand the nuances of each market. This ensures that the advertisers can benefit from our deep local understanding of the market and hence achieve the maximum ROI.

Secondly, we are dedicated to providing our customers with as much data as possible about their performance. In the current day and time, it is not sufficient to just analyze the number of clicks on each ad. We are technology company and we have invested in building a product which goes a step further and analyzes the data collected after the ad was clicked on. Which means, clients can look at the data and better streamline their targeting parameters to consistently improve ROI.

How will you expand the business in order to achieve the full potential in InMobi?

I plan to scale up the business across 2 dimensions simultaneously.

  • Innovation in product and technology: digital marketing is all about a strong platform. Inefficiencies are best solved with good technology. If we can provide the right technology and tools for the mobile ecosystem to create higher monetization’s, it will naturally lead to higher yields. To achieve this, we will simply have to put smart engineers to build the technology solutions.
  • Geography dimension: Mobile advertising is a very global business. Everyone today has a cellphone. That’s vastly different from PC business, where the utilizations is concentrated in the developed markets. We make sure we are a global solution and hence we provide ways of mobile advertising in all parts of the globe.

What has been a temporary yet serious setback at InMobi?

Attracting high quality people has been my biggest challenge so far. We invest in hiring the RIGHT people, so we don’t have to invest in getting the job done RIGHT.

To achieve this, I do not just simply hire people. I sell the vision I have for the company and how we affect the entire ecosystem. I share the motivation of achieving something larger and have them participate in that goal. My team becomes my partners in the quest. Giving everyone esops is one example so everyone feels like they are a part of the company.


What technology platform you are using at InMobi?

Completely open source based indigenously built distributed software stack that is capable of processing billions of requests per month and analyzing petabyte information in matter of hours.

Where did you find the seed capital for your company? Any plans to raise more money?

We were first funded by angel investors Mumbai Angels with an amount of $500,000.

Post that round, the series A funding was by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers as well as Ram Shriram’s Sherpalo Ventures for an amount of $7.1 Million.

Our series B funding was again from KPCB and Sherpalo ventures for $8 Million.

What has been the growth trajectory of your company in terms of employees and branches?

 

Jan 209

Today

Monthly Impressions

420 Million

24 Billion

Active Advertisers

60

500

Publisher Partners

500

4000

Offices

3

6

Countries were services are offered

8

115

Number of employees

30

170

 

Has your work attracted the attention of any entities?

We have been nominated by AlwaysOn for the Global 250 list of top private companies.

http://www.aonetwork.com/AOStory/Announcing-2010-AlwaysOn-Global-250

Other than that, we are globally being covered by major publications like TechCrunch, ZDNET, Mobile Marketing Magazine etc. for our product offerings. I believe that this is the biggest recognition when media publications start reaching out to you directly.

Here are some links of our coverages that have proven our global recognition

http://inmobi.com/news/2010/07/09/peak-performance/

http://inmobi.com/news/2010/06/16/indian-startup-inmobi-may-be-the-big-winner-in-apple-google-ad-brawl/

http://inmobi.com/news/2010/03/10/inmobi-bets-on-developing-world-advertising

What is the reason for your keenness on entrepreneurship?

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 everyday 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.

Yourstory wishes Naveen Tewari and InMobi continued success with their work. We hope that their dominance as the World’s Largest Independent Mobile Ad Network never flags and they remain at the top of their game. For an in depth look at their complete range of services have a look at http://inmobi.com