5 Traits That Helped This Entrepreneur Succeed and Go Global
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InMobi took birth when the word start-up was gradually becoming a part of everyone’s daily conversations. Before the start-up culture boomed, InMobi had already scaled heights. It was founded in 2007 by Naveen Tewari, Mohit Saxena and Abhay Singhal as mKhoj, an SMS-based search and monetization business in Mumbai, and its name got changed to InMobi in 2009.
It became one of India’s most successful mobile marketing and advertising platform provider having a global presence and touching the lives of over a billion people. Top brass of the investment ecosystem including SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Buyers, Sherpalo and University of California in partnership with Ratan Tata made investments in the company.
Tewari talked about the ups and downs of building a multi-million dollar company at the recently held Ascent Conclave 2019.
He shared that in the early days of his life, entrepreneurship was not taken seriously. He even refused the job of a branch manager to become an entrepreneur.
Tewari shared that in the initial years of building the business, the co-founders did not have enough money to buy a Wi-Fi plan. Therefore, they would take turns at the lobby of a prestigious hotel in Delhi, buy coffee and use the free Wi-Fi to work.
“The only thing that we had was a dream.” The zeal to make the dream a reality was so strong that it helped Tewari and the other co-founders overcome all the hurdles that came in their path.
Making Decisions on Gut
For Tewari, the idea to launch InMobi rose from the inner depths of his being. He wanted to spearhead the global Internet space which was bursting into the ecosystem in the early part of the 21st century. He would often ask himself, “What can we do to make content free?” There were several challenges including the lack of mobile Internet in India besides the country not having a mobile advertising Internet market that they had to deal with in order give their ideas a concrete shape.
“Dealing with low is what is very important.” This is one strategy that he swears by even today.
Never Give Up
The anxiety of getting investors onboard is the worry of every entrepreneur. Tewari was no exception.
He shared that several investors closed their doors on their idea. However, they did not give up. “We kept on talking and talking to several investors, and then one day an investor came and said, ‘Well, we like what you are doing.’”
Tewari said a lot of people had advised him to setup the company in other parts of the world where it is much easier to setup business. But it was faith and an ardent wish to make a difference in the Indian subcontinent that gave him the will to launch operations in India.
He also said that having faith in one’s employees is also important. He said, “We have to give our engineers a chance to create products that can reach the global stage.”
Today, he said his products touch 1.5 to 2 billion people.
Tewari has built a global company. He has offices across Europe and the US. InMobi has also done several acquisitions including that of Sprout, a platform for building HTML5-based ads. He attributes speed as an important factor that has helped it succeed. “Speed of movement was very critical at that point in time.” Tewari also said they were making a lot of mistakes as well but they possessed speed and aggression, they were able to scale inexplicably.