InMobi Pte, which provides mobile-advertising services globally, is planning to list in the U.S. by the end of the year, according to a person familiar with the plan, potentially the first among a slew of Indian startups targeting initial public offerings.
The tech upstart, India’s first private company to reach unicorn status with venture funding, could kick off the IPO process in a few weeks, when its board is set to meet to consider a listing, said the person, who asked not to be identified talking about a confidential matter. The offering size could be as large as $1 billion, valuing InMobi at $12 billion to $15 billion, the person said.
A successful debut could make InMobi the first of India’s unicorns to directly list in a U.S. stock exchange, highlighting the country’s shift beyond information technology and outsourcing services. The sale would be a windfall, at least on paper, for InMobi’s biggest backer SoftBank Group Corp., which owns about 40% of the company.
InMobi is about three months from filing an S-1 statement, a registration document submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and plans an IPO roadshow after that, said the person. Among the banks in talks to work on InMobi’s listing are JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc., said the person.
An InMobi spokesman declined to comment.
The pandemic has been a boon for ad-technology companies including InMobi as it has accelerated a shift to mobile in gaming, video streaming and shopping. Advertisers have been quick to follow and capitalize on the trend.
InMobi, which operates in markets including China, the U.S., South Korea, Australia and India, uses algorithms to deliver targeted advertising to users’ phones. The company also helps advertisers create ads and monetize site traffic, providing real-time reports on campaign performance.
Harvard Business School alum Naveen Tewari, now 43, co-founded InMobi in 2007 with fellow engineering and business-school peers after a brief stint as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. It became India’s first unicorn in 2011.
Dozens of other Indian tech startups have reached $1 billion in valuation since. Of these, several including Walmart Inc.-owned online retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt and food-delivery startup Zomato Pvt are said to plan listings in India or the U.S.
InMobi, based in Bangalore, said as far back as 2017 that it was operationally profitable and in 2019 stated that it was targeting $1 billion in gross revenue that year. It competes with Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google in a digital-advertising market expected to reach $579 billion in 2021, according to a forecast by ad-agency network Dentsu.
In December, Tewari’s other startup Glance Digital Experience Pvt received $145 million from Google and Mithril Capital at a valuation of more than $1 billion, making it his second unicorn. Glance, majority-owned by InMobi, was started less than two years ago.
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