Naveen Tewari of InMobi is a confident man and has reasons to be so. Just four years after he founded InMobi, the Bangalore-based company has become the world’s second-largest mobile advertising network after Google. Tewari, who is currently making $100 million or Rs 500 crore in revenues every year, hopes to become a billion-dollar company in two years’ time.
But like most other start-ups, this poster boy of Indian start-ups also had a rough beginning. InMobi, which is currently making waves, started as an SMS-based mobile search – MKhoj. Tewari, however, was none too happy with the “decent-sized” business built upon search on mobile. Ruled by the overpowering ambition to build something that can impact the world, Tewari went on to change the entire business model (from search to advertising) and also rebranded the company as InMobi.
The decision came after the company had raised angel funding from some investors belonging to Mumbai Angels and also after the company had formally done a Press launch for its search business. And it was certainly an emotional decision. Incidentally, in one of the largest deals in the Internet and mobile space, InMobi has raised $200 million as strategic funding from Softbank Corp, a Japanese firm providing services on mobile communications, broadband infrastructure and Internet and fixed-line telecommunications. The mobile Internet company has operations in 20 countries, with most of its revenues accruing from mature markets like that of the USA. Tewari adds that they are on an aggressive acquisition mode and already in conversation with 5-6 companies.
In an exclusive video interview, Tewari, who thinks he is “paranoid for perfection,” looks within and takes us through the highs and lows of building his business, how exactly he did scale up and the broad trends that he sees in the digital content space. Watch the interview for more.