India’s first unicorn InMobi moves out of its adtech comfort zone

When InMobi became India’s first unicorn in 2011, it took everyone – including its founders – by surprise. Naveen Tewari, co-founder and CEO of InMobi, recalls wryly, “We didn’t really know what ‘a unicorn’ meant and so didn’t react initially. We looked it up and it was a horse with a thin horn.”

A $200 million cash infusion from SoftBank Capital in 2011 came after four years of struggle to get local investors to see the potential of a global business built out of India in a little-understood segment – adtech. Tewari says, “Masa looked at the company, our vision and put in money. It obviously changed the landscape for us. It was one of five or six investments which were the foundation for his Vision Fund.”

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