Mumbai-based mobile advertising exchange Vserv.mobi is in advance talks to raise up to $15 million in its Series B funding, sources close to the development informed Techcircle.in. The company has also appointed Signal Hill as its advisor for the deal.
Dippak Khurana, co-founder and CEO of Vserv, declined to comment on the development, stating, “We do not comment on our fundraising plans.”
We have also contacted Signal Hill for more details on the same and will update the story as and when we receive them.
In a ‘Fireside chat’ with Techcircle.in at the recently concluded Techcircle Mobile Forum 2014, Khurana had talked about the amount of funding required for a business like Vserv. “You do not need more than $30-40 million capital in the lifetime of the company to build a large business in the ad tech space, since it’s a B2B business.”
“This is our current understanding, it could change in time, but it was the same four years back and remains the same to date,” he added.
Note that apart from Google, the other big company in the space is InMobi, which is backed by investors such as SoftBank Corp, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures. In 2011, it had struck what was at that time the largest deal in the mobile internet space in India with $200 million commitment from Japan’s SoftBank.
Founded in January 2010 by Khurana along with Ashay Padwal, Vserv claimed to have registered 256 billion ad requests in the financial year ended March 31, 2013. The company had earlier (in 2011) raised $3 million in Series A funding from IDG Ventures.
In its global territory, India currently accounts for 30 per cent of its total revenues, while the rest comes from markets like the Middle East and Southeast Asia, among others. The Mumbai-based company also has offices in the US, the UK, South Africa, Dubai, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam.
While Vserv had close to 100 customers at the end of second year of operations, it is currently serving 2,200 customers globally on a daily basis. The company, which is looking to cross the $100 million in revenue mark by 2015 end, will also set up a local presence in Latin America. It is currently serving the market from the India office.
Challenges & focus on emerging markets
Asked about whether the company will continue to focus on emerging markets or also look at mature markets like the US, he said, “You can always say what more can I do but you need to constantly ask yourself what you should not do. Making that choice of what I should not do is more important; so in our case the focus has been on emerging markets because we are going deep into these markets. There are very unique problems that we are solving in these markets and if we have to do justice to all our stakeholders in these markets we will have to stay focused on emerging markets.”
According to Khurana, the biggest challenge while building out a global business is to ensure the right energy, passion and systems that a company has in its inner circle gets transferred to everyone else in the outer circle as it grows. Also, the one thing that he would have liked to do differently at Vserv, if given a chance, is changing the headquarters from India to abroad.
Talking about the factors that will enhance the growth of mobile in India, Khurana said, “Apart from the increase in data connections and smartphones, which is already known, two factors that will influence the growth of mobile in the country include local content creation and app economy (app stores enabling carrier billing). Both of these will fuel the eco-system, since carrier billing can tap into the vast user base that doesn’t have/use credit/debit cards.”
Earlier this week, Binay Tiwari, global marketing and product head of Vserv had left the company.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)