Mobile Ad Network InMobi gets $200m funding boost


Mobile ad network InMobi has raised $200m from Japanese telco.Softbank Corp. The investment represents one of the largest in the mobile Internet space till date. Founded in 2007, India-based InMobi helps advertisers and developers serve up mobile ads, a fast-growing industry that has been fueled by the rise of consumer cellphones and multimedia-rich smartphones like Apple’s iPhone.

Several venture-capital-backed mobile advertising companies have been acquired in recent years, including AdMob by Google and Quattro Wireless by Apple.

The funding will happen in two tranches – $100 million in September 2011, followed by another $100 million in April 2012.

InMobi has raised a total of $15.6 million in three rounds of funding from marquee venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures. In 2007, it raised $500,000, followed by $7.1 million in 2008 and $8 million in series B funding last year.

Now, InMobi reaches 340 million consumers through 47 billion monthly advertisement impressions and has offices in Singapore, Bangalore, Tokyo, London, San Francisco and Nairobi.

InMobi has a presence in 165 countries and claims to have overtaken Google’s AdMob in the Asia-Pacific and Africa as the top ad network.

The funds will help InMobi scale up its recently launched mobile payments service SmartPay and the Sprout acquisition that was announced last month.

SmartPay is aimed at application developers and helps them handle regulatory complexity, fraud detection, tax issues, currency conversion, payment settlements and customer support across countries. InMobi has plans to reach three billion users in 30 countries by the end of the year with SmartPay.

Sprout is a US-based mobile advertising solutions provider that enables advertisers to create (HTML5-based) rich media ads for mobile devices. Sprout pulled in brands such as Nokia, Disney, HTC, Chevrolet, Paramount Pictures and Sega.

InMobi will also look at more acquisitions, according to Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO of InMobi. “With Softbank behind us, we are now well positioned to fully capitalise on the opportunity before us through substantially increased product innovation, deeper market penetration and acquisitions across the mobile ad value chain,” said Tewari.

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