How Mobavenue was started with $100 and became a profitable bootstrapped company
Mobavenue Media, co-founded by Tejas Rathod, Kunal Kothari, and Ishank Joshi in 2017, is a profitable adtech and martech company that is working with 200+ brands globally.
Wednesday March 15, 2023,
6 min Read
Rathod and Kothari had met while pursuing a computer diploma at Thakur College, in the suburbs of Mumbai. Eventually, they joined college to study computer engineering. However, whenever they met they ended up discussing what next.
A $100 cheque received from Google for freelancing blogging done together got them started on the next leg of their journey.
After college, the duo started a digital marketing company in 2014 and eventually launchedin 2017 to bridge the gap between advertisers and media publishers, and deliver mobile performance for brands by unique programmatic solutions developed in-house.
What does the company do?
Mobavenue, which started as a digital marketing agency, has emerged as a leading adtech and martech company.
Mobavenue 2.0 is now a growth and tech platform dedicated to empowering brands, agencies, and publishers with martech and adtech solutions to drive growth, engagement, and monetisation. Its product suites are purpose-built for certain categories to drive brand performance.
The Mumbai-based company aims to boost mobile and digital businesses success through full-stack programmatic products and services, from supply to demand side. These include an SSP, monetisation platform, ad exchange, DSP, self-service advertiser platform, first-party data platforms, a creative studio, and automation platform.
Mobavenue has partnered with 200+ brands across industries such as fintech, BFSI, ecommerce, OTT, D2C, and gaming .
Apart from the strong founding team - Tejas Rathod, Chief Operating Officer, and Kunal Kothari, Chief Growth Officer - the leadership has a combined experience of over 50+ years. It includes Ishank Joshi, Chief Executive Officer; Palash Gaur, VP, Business; Anita Young, APAC Director; Sumit Bhansali, Chief Strategy Officer; Kartik Balakrishnan, VP Operations; and Jayant Basantani, VP, Sales.
Rathod is one of the early adopters of programmatic-led advertising while Kothari, an engineering graduate with a knack for technology, offers innovative solutions to client problems.
Joshi started his entrepreneurial journey in his early 20s, and successfully built and exited edtech, adtech, and fintech companies. At Mobavenue, he looks after new business development, strategic tie-ups, and overall strategy building for the growth of the organisation.
The team aims to validate business models with “growth, performance, and profitability”, to change the digital landscape.
The founders have received the Businessworld 30 under 30 Award and steered their company to multiple prestigious awards, including the Most Promising Agency of the Year 2022 by Adgully.
The bootstrapped startup has hit profitability, achieving $40 million combined revenues in six years.
The company’s USPs are rooted in audience, acquisition, growth, and re-market, with a stronghold in audience segmentation and performance-driven campaigns.
“Our in-house proprietary solutions optimize toward end business goals and growth paths using predictive buying and supply-side modelling. AI audience segmentation focuses on user behaviour and acquisition through precise targeting,” says Rathod, adding that the team ensures brand and fraud safety while focusing on placing relevant content using contextual ads.
The journey hasn’t been easy, but hard work and grit has helped forge a path.
In six years, the company has achieved specialisation in building SaaS and automation products, mainly in adtech and martech solutions. These include mobile advertising, performance marketing, media buying, growth marketing, partner marketing, digital transformation, and monetisation solutions.
From its humble beginnings in a small cubicle with a handful of people, Mobavenue has grown to a team of more than 120+ people and offices in 10 locations - Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Sydney, London, and New York.
The founders and leadership teams firmly believe in a “build-to-last approach” and aim to grow clients, products, and revenues across different regions, profitably.
Mobavenue has helped businesses across industries like banks and NBFCs, fintech, D2C brands, retailers, ecommerce, online gaming, and OTT platforms with better Return on Investment (ROI) and to improve efficiency.
When leading fintech company KreditBee wanted to amplify the registration rate and push for high card transactions and loan approval rates, Mobavenue's in-house Surge DSP enabled the team to get high traction disbursements to short-term loan borrowers at three-month run rate. The company’s integrated fraud partners ensured high day-to-day performance, brand safety, and fraud optimisation for KreditBee's campaign.
Mobavenue also strategised to bid high on direct apps to drive more traffic, which has gone a long way to boost the reach and revenue of KreditBee.
“Mobavenue has worked with numerous D2C brands to meet their objectives and focus on cost-effectiveness with our in-house products in the programmatic acquisition, re-targeting, and growth management. Our marketing solutions help D2C businesses with in-app advertising strategies,” Kothari says.
Using programmatic user acquisition and unique targeting methods, Mobavenue has helped OTT brands drive paid subscriptions, views, and retention.
The OTT market has a set of unique challenges, which require unique solutions too. Mobavenue’s expertise and partnered technologies leverage OTT platforms with a full-funnel approach such as acquisition, retargeting, monetisation, and promotion.
Mobavenue has executed CPA Models for different gaming apps, which have helped them in reaching their business goals. The company’s structured marketing tactics have aided gaming brands to reach new audiences and increase app downloads.
The company is focusing on cookie-less, contextual advertising, and other relevant growth martech solutions for businesses and publishers. The idea is to drive performance for brands and better monetisation for publishers.
Mobavenue is contributing to the startup ecosystem, and has invested in around 10+ B2B tech and AI startups. The founders also invest in their personal capacity in early-stage companies to support the startup ecosystem in the APAC region.
Adtech and martech are all about lead generation, optimisation of acquisition costs of customers for the brands and clients, providing options other than Google platforms, using effective publications and other online channels to reach the right customer audience, and re-targeting of customers to increase the per customer spend for the brands.
As a tech-first company, Mobavenue believes in building technology for tomorrow today. It is expanding its global reach with new verticals, building new products based on understanding, problem-solving, and anticipating future challenges.
It has partnered with renowned brands like Myntra, KreditBee, ICICI Bank, Unacademy, Zivame, Winzo, Shopee, and Chingari, to help each other grow.
The growth and tech platform aims to build an inclusive culture of diverse talents, and to empower employees to become the next changemakers. The idea is to create a cluster of new-age experts, “constantly crafting and mastering the art of what works right”.