The rumour mills have been abuzz for sometime about InMobi’s so-called imminent sale to global tech giants. Inmobi, an advertising technology company, holds its own alongside advertising behemoths Facebook and Google in the £100 billion global mobile advertising market, and is one of the 9 Indian unicorns.
The successful startup from India was rumoured to be getting acquired by Google for the longest time. Google’s mobile ad network AdMob competes directly with market leader InMobi and expectedly Google’s made attempts to beef up its mobile ad network arm. However, nothing materialised on that front and InMobi has continued to grow and give Google a tough fight in the mobile advertising tech segment.
Of late, Microsoft, looking to boost its severely lagging ad revenue from a Bing or its mobile network, had been frequently touted to be the next bidder for the Indian mobile ad giant InMobi. Even though Microsoft is doing away with its display advertising business altogether having siphoned off the display advertising responsibilities to AOL in a partnership, the InMobi acquisition, if consummated would have purportedly boosted Microsoft’s effort to still hold a piece of the mobile advertising market.
However, clearing the air and dismissing the possibility of an acquisition by either of the global companies, InMobi founder and CEO, Naveen Tewari, an ex McKinsey Consultant and Harvard alumni, has finally spoken up. In an interview with ET, Tewari states that there is no acquisition on the cards and that the company will look to release an IPO at some point, if not immediately.
“If you want to do big innovations like what we are doing now, you can’t be public. You get into quarterly pressures from investors, which restrain you from taking these sorts of risks.”, Tewari said. Tewari is credited for co-founding one of the most innovative startups in India, and with a valuation of above $2billion, finds himself in the richest startup founders list. His dedication to growing InMobi and having a clear-cut vision for the company has been often lauded.
With its presence across 200 countries, InMobi, Tewari said, is sitting on a huge opportunity. He said of the overall estimated ad market of $650 billion in 2020, mobile advertising is expected to be $200-$250 billion. And of that, $80-$100 billion is expected to be traditional advertising-things like banner advertising for branding – and $100$150 billion is expected to be performance advertising or transaction advertising, which InMobi is getting heavily into. InMobi’s transaction platform Miip has generated unprecedented adoption, growth and results for InMobi.