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A Start Up that Competes with Google & Apple

发布在 February 03, 2014  •  DATAQUEST

The story of InMobi has been an inspiration for Indian start-ups.

InMobi was founded in 2007 by Naveen Tewari, and in less than a decade, it has turned into a giant mobile ad network, and a direct competitor to Apple and Google in the mobile ad space.

Despite being around for only less than a decade, Naveen has already been named as one of the start-up entrepreneurs to watch out for. Naveen is an engineer by training, studied at Harvard Business School, and worked at consulting firm McKinsey. He also worked with start-ups while he was in Silicon Valley.

After launching InMobi, Naveen identified various opportunities in the mobile Internet space. He is redefining mobile-first customer-engagement platforms through a suite of products like app distribution, monetization, and brand advertisements.

The Story So Far

Like any start-up, InMobi faced challenges too and eventually grew into an MNC. Earlier known as mKhoj, the company started as an SMS-based search platform. They received an initial angel fund of $500,000 from Mumbai Angels. One of its turning points was when the company pivoted to a scalable platform of mobile advertising. With the newly obtained funds, the business model was changed and mKhoj was rebranded into InMobi in 2009. The company received funding of $8 mn and $7 mn from global venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures, which enabled the company to attract good talent. Later in 2011, InMobi once again received a funding from Softbank for $200 mn. The funding helped the company scale quickly in various markets.

This helped InMobi build multiple platforms for the ad business value chain and made acquisitions to fill up gaps. The company focuses on markets like the UK, Europe and has a presence in Australia, Taiwan, the US, France, Italy, Russia, Germany, and China. Despite launching in China in 2011, InMobi is already one of the largest mobile ad networks in the Republic.


Naveen did find it tough to run global operations in 25 offices while keeping one culture, one system, and communicating clearly with everyone, but he has been able to successfully scale the company globally. With close to 691 mn users across more than 165 countries, it aims to pass one billion in two years. InMobi serves billions of ads daily and has over 350 data scientists, engineers, and analysts spread across the globe. Its ability to challenge industry giants like Apple and Google and pioneering innovation in the ad space has brought the brand up in the global tech platform.

InMobi was also recently recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the 50 most disruptive companies in the world.