Hyderabad based VAS co IMI Mobile continues to walk the inorganic growth path, and plans to acquire more VAS companies. It has just raised $13 million from Sequoia Capital and First Mark Capital in the third round of funding and will utilise it to grow its portfolio of services and add more accounts by acquiring firms outside India. Remember that Sequoia Capital is also invested in another mobile VAS company – Comviva.
In 2000, the company raised $1 million in its first funding round and then received $3 million from Spark Plc, a UK-based VC. This was used to expand its local development teams, research and development and for overseas expansion.
Speaking to Medianama IMI Mobile Founder and CEO Vishwanath Alluri said that for acquisitions,“We are looking at Tier -1 markets: mainly Europe & US regions. We need to find a suitable company to match our biggest model: mobile data and advertising services. ” When probed about the size of VAS firms he was looking to acquire, he said there was “no specific number”. He also said that the company was not looking at domestic acquisitions.
IMI’s Acquisitions So Far, No IPO?
Last November, IMI bought the London based digital music distibutor dx3 and that set its foot down in Europe. In February this year it acquired Nokia Siemens Networks’ Music2You service, again a European firm with most customers in the region. In July, it picked up a London based mobile backup service called Mobyko, on the lines of the BSE listed VAS firm OnMobile Global acquiring VoxMobili SA.
Among IMI’s clients are Virgin Mobile, Tigo, Maxis, Vodafone, and Google, Thomson Reuters, Yahoo, CricInfo and the Sahara Group. Its most recent carrier relationship is with the South African major MTN.
Key revenue streams for the company are data services, its flagship mobile advertising platform Ad-ring, and RBT (ring back tone) services but the company is now focussing on other technologies in the mobile data space. On contribution to overall revenues, Alluri apologetically denied to answer, saying “We have a mandate from the board not to disclose details of financials since we are a private company.” Last year, the revenue breakup was – 60% from Voice and CRBT, 40% from data.
IMI has not constructed any plans to file for an IPO, unlike competitor One97 Communications which is planning to go public in 2010 and OnMobile Global, which is already listed. “At the moment, no, we dont have any such plans,” said Alluri.
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