Naveen is the founder of InMobi and responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of InMobi. His view of the growth of the mobile ecosystem and leveraging InMobi as a key tenet in developing that mobile ecosystem was the foundation stone on which InMobi was built. InMobi is a "Mobile Advertising marketplace" that gives advertisers a targeted way to reach out to consumers while they surf the web from their mobile devices. It has also given mobile publishers a wayasdfa to earn revenue and monetize their traffic.
How did you get into the tech industry?
It has been my long-standing dream to leverage technology to solve current problems in the field of healthcare, education, security and infrastructure. I truly believe that we can create scalable solutions only on the back of disruptive and innovative technology.
All start-ups that make it have a story to tell and ours is no different. We were a bunch of youngsters with a powerpoint presentation. We knew we wanted to build a global business from the start. We made an educated bet in deciding to get into the mobile advertising business.
Tell us about InMobi. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
At InMobi, we simplify advertising on the mobile.
It’s been a great journey and one that is still unfolding. We take great pride in being able to help our customers globally engage with their consumers in a far more intimate way through mobile advertising. Today, the world's largest brands, agencies, developers and publishers are creating immediate business value by using our platforms to deliver compelling value propositions to their target consumers.
What strategic partnerships have you implemented that have attributed to InMobi's success?
I believe that our nimble footedness gives us our edge. We are never shy of taking critical but speedy decisions around buying, building or partnering. Whether our earliest acquisition (Sprout) or our most recent partnership with Rubicon to create an exchange, we are open to any model that enables us to make the most impact on the lives of our advertisers and publishers in the shortest possible time.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
At InMobi, we deal with technology that is changing by the minute. Innovation cycles are only shrinking in the world of mobile advertising. Tectonic shifts are occurring literally every 6-9 months. The only way for companies to survive is to have massive geographic scale and disruptive product diversification. We have emerged a strong leader on account of this. Other players have either faded away or been acquired since they are unable to adapt to this pulsing ecosystem. We are not just another mobile advertising company. We are a technology powerhouse.
I am a big believer of thinking big, thinking global and in taking risk in business.
At a personal level, my parents were educators and I would like to transform the education and health sector through the intervention of technology. I already head a non-profit that is involved in educating more than 300 children in rural India.
Our mission at InMobi is to enable consumers and businesses across the globe to make smarter decisions. We build mobile-first customer engagement platforms that transform the economics of influencing global consumers.
Your greatest success as founder of InMobi? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
As one of the founders of InMobi, I am proud that we have been the breeding ground for more than 35 other start-ups. While it is disappointing to "lose" smart employees, it is also heartening to see that we make a difference to people's aspirations and lives, by inspiring them to set out on their own.
In deciding to become an entrepreneur you commit a part of yourself to failing publicly. I used to go to bed every night, thinking tomorrow will be the last day of our business. That is one of the biggest fears. Everything else is really just a lead up to it - whether it is scraping up cash, pitching investors, converting the first customer or convincing the first few employees. Getting the backing of our investors, clients and employees gave us the validation to plough ahead.
Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Think big! Entrepreneurship is about believing in challenging the status quo when everybody else tells you otherwise. Most importantly, invest in building a rock-solid foundation. Atop that, you can aspire to build not just a billion dollar business but multiple billion dollar businesses.
Favorite travel destination?
Love the beaches of Maldives and Goa (in India).
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
Indian food accompanied with some great wine
What literature is on your bed stand?
I only read on my digital devices I love the magazines that Fllipboard and Medium put together. Very intuitive. I also love that these are bite-sized, snackable reads that I can squeeze into my busy schedule.
Role model - business and personal?
My father has been my role model and inspiration. I think he always gave me the courage and strength to dare to dream, cross all boundaries to achieve my goals and follow my passion
Have always been passionate about cycling and cricket. I have just recently also developed an interest and passion for design and graphics.
Most interesting headline you've read this week?
What's next for InMobi?
We are very excited about the data sciences space. Given our ringside view of how consumer analytics is rapidly becoming the core of nearly every business, we believe, we are very well positioned to take on broader challenges in times to come.
Naveen's journey started with McKinsey & Company where he worked on developing the go-to-market strategy for a large Indian conglomerate, as it entered the telecom sector. He has also worked with the top management of technology companies on various issues. Later, he joined Charles River Ventures (CRV), a top tier VC firm focusing on early stage investing in software and communications. Naveen worked with CRV on developing its India investment strategy. He also worked briefly with a mobile VoIP startup in Silicon Valley.
Naveen is the Founder and Chairman of a US based non-profit organization, India School Fund (ISF), which has been formed to set up schools in rural India. ISF started in 2006 with only a few Harvard Business School friends and has now grown to have over 50 people across India and US.
Naveen obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT) and has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School (HBS). At HBS, Naveen was the recipient of the "Dean's Award", the highest honor for his exceptional leadership and contribution.