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InMobi plans US IPO at value of up to $15 billion

InMobi Pte, which offers mobile-advertising services globally, is looking to list in the U.S. by the end of the year, as revealed by a person familiar with the development, possibly the first among a slew of Indian startups targeting initial public offerings.

The tech startup, India’s first private company to attain unicorn status with venture funding, could launch the IPO process in a few weeks when its board is set to meet to consider a listing, stated the person, who requested not to be identified as it was a confidential matter. The offer 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, showing the country’s shift past information technology and outsourcing services. The sale would be a boon, at least on paper, for InMobi’s biggest backer SoftBank Group Corp., which owns around 40% of the company.

InMobi is around 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 following 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 blessing for ad-technology companies including InMobi as it has boosted a shift to mobile in gaming, video streaming, and shopping. Advertisers have been swift to follow and capitalize on the trend.

InMobi, which has operations in markets including China, the U.S., South Korea, Australia, and India, applies algorithms to deliver targeted advertising to users’ phones. The company also enables advertisers to create ads and monetize site traffic, rendering 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 attained $1 billion in valuation since. Of these, many including Walmart Inc.-owned online retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt and food-delivery startup Zomato Pvt are reported to plan listings in India or the U.S.

InMobi, based in Bangalore, stated 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 projection by ad-agency network Dentsu.

In December, Tewari’s other startup Glance Digital Experience Pvt secured $145 million from Google and Mithril Capital at a valuation of over $1 billion, making it his second unicorn. Glance, majority-owned by InMobi, was incepted less than two years ago.

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