Regarded as the first technology startup from India to breach the unicorn milestone, Bengaluru-based InMobi has initiated talks with a slew of global bankers including JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to manage the proposed listing process, sources directly aware of developments told ET.
A successful listing for the adtech firm will mark a first for the Indian tech startup community and could deliver hefty returns for Masayoshi Son-led Softbank, which owns a significant share in the 13-year old company. InMobi’s board is expected to formalise the IPO plans in April, said one person cited above.
“The listing will unlock value for investors and the funds will well help fuel our global expansion,” the person said.
InMobi had raised $ 200 million from the Japanese investment firm in 2011, making it then one of the largest investments in the Indian internet space.
A representative for InMobi declined comment on the latest developments.
ET had earlier reported InMobi’s plans for a public listing in its edition of January 4.
Cofounded by Harvard Business School alumnus Naveen Tewari, InMobi, delivers mobile first programmatic ads with its own marketing automation platform primarily to markets in the US and in China. Over 60 % of its $ 1 billion gross revenue in fiscal year 2021 came from the US while a fourth came from the Chinese market, the company clocked operating margins of over 45%, executives aware of the details told ET.
Tewari had earlier told ET that the public markets had turned bullish on the adtech industry over the last 12-18 months, due in large part to heightened push towards digitisation induced by the pandemic.
“The reason why the (public) market was not very bullish on the adtech sector because they thought the whole market would be taken by Google and Facebook, which didn’t happen,” he said. “They will be the largest players, don’t get me wrong, taking about 60-70% of the market. But the 25-35% market will be left for others. The ad tech market is massive especially after the Covid year 2020.”
InMobi, which positions itself as an open adtech platform also competes with firms such as Mobvista, The Trade Desk, Magenta, Affle and Criteo. The Bengaluru-based firm powers the ad sales for Microsoft’s search engine Bing with the Seattle-based technology major taking InMobi’s marketing automation platform to its global customers. InMobi’s applications run on the Microsoft Azure Cloud.
InMobi also owns majority stake in the lock screen content platform Glance, which has over 115 million users and plans to take it global. The Glance unit, which had raised $ 145 million from Google and Mithril Capital for its lock screen content platform, owns short video platform Roposo, which it acquired soon after the exit of TikTok from India last year.
InMobi had faced severe business challenges in 2015 due mainly to competition from Google and Facebook, it has since turned the business around and claims that it has been profitable at the operating level since 2016.