India’s first unicorn InMobi to issue guidance on IPO in few quarters, says CEO

InMobi's Naveen Tewari

India’s first unicorn InMobi Group is all set to add another billion-dollar venture to its anvil, as it expects mobile content business Glance to become a unicorn in its upcoming funding round. The company which was founded in 2007 as mKhoj, and rebranded as InMobi in 2009, and has expanded its presence across US, China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, claims to be overall profitable since 2016, registering a quarterly growth of 20% for its business-to-business (B2B) business.

But India’s ban on Chinese apps and the lockdown have provided significant tailwinds to its B2C business, as it looks to add newer revenue streams on its social platforms Glance and Roposo. In an interview, InMobi founder and CEO Naveen Tewari spoke about the company’s outlook, and a possible initial public offering (IPO). Edited excerpts:

How has the covid-19 crisis impacted the advertising industry? 

There is a big shift towards digital advertising from traditional channels (including offline, print and television). The size of digital advertising has definitely gone up, in spite of a 25% reduction in advertising spend in India.

There is also a sectoral shift where we see new industries like – ecommerce, digital gaming, productivity apps and telemedicine – becoming much bigger in terms of ad spends, while segments like travel, tourism and even consumer-packaged goods are still reeling from the impact.

In spite of covid, InMobi’s B2B advertising revenues saw a quarterly growth of 7% in Q2 (April-June). In the current quarter, we are seeing a 20% growth in our advertising business. Usually, quarterly growth for us ranges between 10% -15%.

With Glance and Roposo, we have more than 100 million daily active users in India that spend over 30 minutes on our platform.

What are the new focus areas for the growth of your platforms?

The surge we saw in July-August was a result of rapid innovation, which InMobi undertook between March to May. Because of the pandemic, we launched gaming on Glance, which rocketed to 25 million monthly active users in India, within a few months. We also leveraged Glance to provide pandemic-centric information, which was earlier focussed only on entertainment, and even built customer flows to help users buy insurance from our partners.

We forged partnerships with medical institutions to even get doctors on the platform, and provide health related information. We made significant investment on short video platform Roposo, but the surge only happened in July, post the ban.

When do you see your B2C business turning profitable?

Our B2C business (Glance and Roposo), will be loss making for the next few years, given that we are still investing in its growth. But we do expect in the next four years or so, the platform B2B business and B2C business to come of a similar size, in terms of revenues.

However,on an overall InMobi group perspective, we are profitable since 2016. In FY’20, we expect a marginal increase in revenues, given the pandemic effect.

Will InMobi planning an IPO soon?

We have thought of an IPO and you should see it soon. We will be in a position to issue guidance on IPO in a few quarters from now, assuming nothing in the macro-environment changes significantly.

Are you looking to raise funds?

For our B2B advertising business, we don’t need to raise any additional capital, since we are profitable. In the next six months, we will raise capital for our B2C unit Glance.

In the upcoming fundraise, Glance will definitely be valued over $1 billion; we are clear about it.

Are you planning new acquisitions in India, especially for the Glance business?

On the B2C side, we are in the market looking for newer acquisitions, and will make at least one acquisition in the next 12 months.

Will you be looking at newer geographies for expansion?

We are not looking to enter new geographies, since we are already present in key geographies, and are continuously gaining market share in the US market, where ad spends have not been affected.

For our B2B business, US market constitutes 60-65% of our business, followed by China which is 20% of our business by revenues. While Asia-Pacific (Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Australia and India) will contribute 15%-20% of revenues. India would be 5% to 7% of our overall revenues for our advertising business.

The article was first published on livemint.com

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.