inmobi group, naveen tiwari
ETtech

Naveen Tewari, founder & CEO of InMobi Group

The clouds of recession in the United States are “a lot darker than they seem”, mobile advertising giant InMobi’s founder and chief executive Naveen Tiwari told ET.
However, he is cautiously optimistic about the environment since the fundamentals of his business – across InMobi, Glance and Roposo – have not been impacted.
“The US recession is not a fear anymore. Sitting in India, if you have a view of how dark the clouds are, multiply that view by four times. That’s how tough it looks,” Tiwari said.
InMobi derives about 70% of its business from the United States, and the company has started to feel the impact of the downturn.
The expected rate of growth has slowed down in America, and the company will invest more carefully. The focus will be on conserving cash and lowering costs, Tiwari added.
“When we came into 2022, we were riding on a high from 2021. That’s not there. The growth rate has slowed down across the globe and therefore you invest more carefully. If I would have taken a decision to invest four quarters in advance, now I invest one or two quarters in advance. You have to pull back and keep your costs in check,” he said.
Apart from its core mobile advertising business-to-business (B2B) vertical, InMobi Group also houses lock screen platform Glance, live commerce platform Shop101, video sharing platform Roposo and gaming company Gambit, its business-to-consumer (B2C) business.
Through partnerships with original equipment manufacturers, Glance is the default lock screen on phones if enabled by users. It provides live commerce streaming, news and gaming services apart from others on the lock screen.
Glance, which became a unicorn in 2020 after an investment from Google and Mithril Capital, also raised $200 million from Reliance Industries in February.
Tiwari said that there was clearly an investment winter.
“There is no doubt or debate about that, and you have to be more cautious about the future. You don’t want to be in a scenario where you invest aggressively, and the investor market is not ready. We raised $200 million earlier this year and we are okay,” he said.
On the layoffs seen across consumer internet companies such as Meta, Amazon and Twitter, Tiwari said that this was a correction in optimism.
“They are brilliant brands… They were willing to invest four years in advance but now it’s two years. Meta had doubled hiring in the last two years. Now they have pulled back,” he said.
Glance is also looking to launch in the United States in early 2023.
However, he said the company is being careful in terms of expanding to various regions and is considering the economic turmoil globally.
“Our presence in the Southeast Asia market is big and we are hoping to have a similar presence in the US. These are the key markets we are focussed on. Though only about 50% of smartphone users in the US are Android users, and another 50% are iOS users, the value derived from customers is much higher,” he said.

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