Google is eyeing to acquire Bangalore-based mobile advertising network InMobi. The Indian company is looking for a valuation in excess of $2 billion (approximately Rs 12,500 crore). This acquisition is seen as a strategic move by Google to take on Facebook’s growing strength in mobile advertising. Also Read - Happy Father's Day 2021: Google Doodle wishes dads with cute pop-up greeting cardAlso Read - Google might be working on a 'Find My' network clone for Android users
Citing anonymous sources, Economic Times reports that the discussions began last September and are still in its very early stages. Google is soon planning to initiate technology due diligence of InMobi. Also Read - PUBG New State receives over 17 million pre-registrations as closed alpha testing ends
Google’s acquisition footprint in India began with Imperium, a four-year-old startup with expertise in cyber security founded by two Indians and has its offices in Bangalore and California. Started in 2010, Impermium develops services for websites that helps identify potential risks and dangers from harmful accounts.
InMobi was founded in 2007 by Naveen Tiwari, and is essentially a performance based mobile ad network backed by Soft Bank and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. InMobi, earlier known as mKhoj, started as an SMS-based search platform with initial funding from investment forum Mumbai Angels. The company later changed its business strategy to focus on mobile advertising, and rebranded itself to InMobi.
It received two rounds of funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures. In 2014, it secured $5 million in Series C funding from Softbank, which committed to invest an additional $25 million in InMobi if new investors come on board.
The source told the publications that Ram Shriram of Sherpalo Ventures, an early investor in both companies, had played a role in acquisition talks with Google and InMobi.
“Things were different last year, both for Google and InMobi. While Google was not facing the amount of heat it’s witnessing today from Facebook on mobile, InMobi too was confident of raising another funding comfortably,” the source said. But with the rise in Facebook’s dominance, Google wants to speed things up to focus on mobile.
India, especially Bangalore, is turning out to be a hot-bed for startup acquisition. Just recently Twitter announced that it had bought missed call innovation company ZipDial for around $30 million. Even Yahoo picked up Bangalore-based tech company Bookpad last year, and Facebook acquired Little Eye Labs – a startup out of Bangalore that specialises in analysing mobile data. The interesting thing here to note is that not only are all of these startups from the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, but all of them are mobile-focused ventures.