Changing The World of Mobile Advertising
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Born and brought up in the family of an IIT Professor, Naveen Tewari began his professional journey with McKinsey and Company as a business analyst. When in 2007, Naveen, with his three friends started working on InMobi - born as a mobile first company - from a shared apartment in Mumbai, people started calling them ‘boys with powerpoint’.
Even today, InMobi continues to be a mobile-only advertising platform. Mobile advertising has the potential to fundamentally change the future of the ecosystem. The first 10 years of mobile advertising model was about ‘mobile natives’ whose business models were gaming, entertainment, cabs etc. Today, mobile novices and traditional organizations are compelled to enhance their revenue streams by monetizing data, which they haven’t before.
InMobi has been a flagship example of India’s explosive start-up growth, and one of the earliest to have taken risky bets back in the day. In terms of disrupting the status quo, InMobi has gone against the tide right from the word go. Tewari tells us, “We were told that building a product company in India is impossible as there wasn’t enough talent available. But we survived, thrived and grew despite a whole lot of frowns and thumbs down.”
Till now, InMobi has raised more than $200 million from four investors including Sherpalo Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Softbank. InMobi pivoted early to a new business model that could have a global impact. They took a brand from India to Silicon Valley, competing with giants in the space.
He also says, “Right now we are profitable, as a result of the entrepreneurial culture that runs in our blood.” They believe in trusting new people and ensuring that policies do not hamper their entrepreneurial mindset. Their unrelenting focus on building great products, execution rigour and a peoplefirst culture has helped them build a successful and profitable global mobile internet business.
Talking about the future prospect, Tewari says, “InMobi will play a critical role in shaping the future. Over the next few years, InMobi will help redefine business models in the mobile phone ecosystem, through strategic partnerships with OEMs, telecom companies, e-commerce players and media companies.”
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)