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Amit Gupta, Co Founder & President at InMobi



Amit is one of the Co-Founders of InMobi and is currently based in the San Francisco office. After running the Revenue and Operations function for many years globally, he has taken up the responsibility to grow InMobi’s dominance and market share in North America region. Amit is also leading an ambitious initiative for InMobi which has potential to change the world of advertising and can also create multi-billion dollar business for InMobi.

Post his graduation, Amit chose to stray away from the conventional low risk approach of working with large companies and decided to opt for a career with startups to fulfill his desire to learn a few tricks on running a business. The passion of entrepreneurship really took over him within a few years and he founded a product company called Analyticsworks that created a business intelligence platform focused on media, retail and commerce. Post this, Amit was fascinated by the exponential growth of mobile phones and believed strongly that this device would bring fundamental changes to the world and thus embarked on the journey to start InMobi.

Outside of InMobi, Amit has been playing an active part in building a vibrant startup ecosystem. He is an angel investor and also advises young entrepreneurs on the various aspects of running a startup.

Amit has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Amit got prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award for his exceptional contributions to Entrepreneurship.


In your own words what is Inmobi?

InMobi is synonymous to innovation and disruption in the mobile advertising space. Among others, InMobi has been recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the 50 Most Disruptive Companies. It has revolutionized the industry by reimagining advertising to make consumers fall in love with ads. Miip, is our reimagined discovery platform that opens up a world of possibilities for mobile consumers. It enables discovery of highly relevant and curated products by reimagining advertising for a destination-less world. Miip delivers interactive and visually rich experiences to rivet consumer attention across a multitude of apps.

Based out of India, InMobi is a global company with 27 offices across 16 countries and a reach of 1.4 billion unique users across 200 countries and territories. Our USP is our people and our culture that we lovingly call YaWiO. Infact our culture, YaWiO has gone open sourced for other start-ups.


How did you come up with the idea of Inmobi?

The passion to build a global mobile-first business, based out of India got all four of us (Naveen, Abhay, Mohit and I) together. The industry was clear to us but with no precedence in India, we were treading the path not taken. We started with the idea of a sms based mobile search engine business called mKhoj. The idea was great but it was not what people were looking for. One year into the business with no funds left, we realized we had to change our offering and very soon. That’s when we came up with the idea of InMobi our mobile advertising business.


Could you walk us through the process of starting up Inmobi?

People say that we were very clear from the beginning on what exactly we wanted to do, but it wasn’t the case at all. We knew that mobile is going to be BIG and will be a global phenomenon. We explored various opportunities their associated pain points and found that advertising will be a crucial aspect for mobile as a medium to get high penetration. And we jumped on it. From day one of the company, the consistent theme has been global mobile advertising. We moved from doing advertising on SMS as mKhoj to mobile web and now on apps as InMobi. It was just an evolution with the changing ecosystem around us.


Did you encounter any particular difficulties during startup and if so, how did you guys overcome it?

While early bird catches the worm, it has no precedence to follow but its own instincts. Likewise, we were the first in the industry and hence faced our own set of teething problems. When we went hiring we realized that there were no trained people in the skill-set that we were looking for. We decided to hire people based on their attitude and ambition. That by the way was the stepping stone of our culture – YaWiO. Another instance that I can share is of deciding to enter China. Yet again, we were the first to do so in our industry. While we saw people taking the easier route of getting into a JV or so, we took the risk of entering China independently. It not only saved us time, but also ensured that we had sound infrastructure aligned to their requirements which in the long run is always beneficial. In fact in China we work as a Chinese company. We have a local team that understands the local nuances and we trust them with their decisions. Today, we are leading in the China market.


How have you been developing Inmobi since startup ?

Since the beginning we believed in the power of teamwork as you can’t build a successful business without it. We believe in finding passionate people who can take ownership with accountability and work towards the organization goal hand in hand. Our “GloCal” approach has helped us in building many regional teams where we hired from the respective countries and trusted them. This has helped us not only in bringing the trust with the local customers but also for us to understand their culture and opportunity better.


What kind of feedback did you get for Inmobi so far?

When you enjoy your work and put your heart and soul into it, the results show. InMobi has not only been recognized as 50 Most Disruptive Companies by MIT Technology Review, it has also received, Outstanding Startup of the year award by Forbes India Leadership Award, 2014. It was identified as the ‘Mobile Top 50’ in The Drum, 2013. And most recently InMobi received the 2015 Global Smarties™ Awards from Mobile Marketing Association, got recognized as 25 most promising BIG DATA solution providers by the APAC CIO Outlook Magazine 2015 and received The Sparks Award for Media Excellence in 2015.




Do you face a lot of competition in this industry? What is your strategy against your competition?

Our competition is with Facebook and Google and our strategy is very simple – never stop, just keep innovating and disrupting. With our recent innovation of Miip we already are ahead by leaps and bounds in innovation from them and we will continue to be so.


What can you tell us about the industry? Have you developed any industry insights that you could share?

The industry is very easy to enter but to sustain and spearhead the same you have to follow the mantra of creating IP, creating your own platform and just keep on innovating and disrupting.


What is the future of the industry and how do you plan to stay relevant in this industry?

Sky is the limit for this industry which is already 600 billion USD worth. We only see it growing leaps and bounds.


Were there anything that disappointed you initially?

Yes, most of them were related to hiring decisions. In the beginning we didn’t know the trade off between passion and someone having business contacts. A couple of senior hiring were made on the assumption that our business will take off because of someone’s Rolodex. Without product knowledge and genuine excitement about our space led to no tangible results. Now we have mastered the art of spotting the right talent.


What do you think about being an entrepreneur in Asia? Is it harder or easier, why?

No matter where you are entrepreneurship is not easy. But it does make you a better person. You learn to fail, you learn to succeed, you learn to trust, and you learn to be grounded. It is very simple – as an entrepreneur you just need to pick a problem and solve them one at a time till you succeed.


What is your opinion on Asian entrepreneurship vs Western entrepreneurship?

Nothing different fundamentally except for the difference in “infrastructure” for doing business. Countries like US has ecosystem of VCs, suitable policies, social setup and certainly a high concentration of people who are willing to work for startups. Asian countries in contrast have a lot of unsolved problems which are opportunities for entrepreneurs.


What is your definition of success?

If we can make the world and our society better with our work, then I call it success.


Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship is a spirit, it’s about someone enjoying solving tough problems in an environment which is changing and challenging both. Most of my professional journey was working with startups, so for me it was just taking bit more risk, start on my own.


In your opinion, what are the keys to entrepreneurial success?

Never give up! Failure is inevitable but if you keep going, so is success.


Any parting words of wisdom for entrepreneurs out there from your personal experience?

Just believe in your dream. If you are passionate about it and are willing to work hard and go that extra mile when you want to give up the most, your dream will get materialized. Remember that Rome was not built in a day. Do not fear from failure as it will help you learn more. So never give up and just keep doing what you love.


Lessons Learnt from The Lean Startup



The Lean Startup book authored by Eric Ries has been sitting on my shelf for quite sometime now, so since I am currently contributing to the making of a startup I figured I’ll take a look into it.

The book is divided into 3 parts, after reading the first two I had my mind blown with the pragmatic and scientific approach to building startups that is described in the book.

In this post, I would like to share some important insights that I gained regarding building highly innovative businesses.

Validating Value Proposition And Growth Strategy Is The Priority

Usually, a highly innovative startup company is working in its most early stage at building a product or a service that will create a new market.

Consumers or businesses have not been yet exposed to something similar to what is going to be built by the startup. Therefore the absolute priority for startups in early stage is to validated their value proposition i.e. to get real data about eventual customers interest regarding their product/service.

The other priority is to validate that the growth strategy that is going to be executed is, in fact, effective.

The growth strategy of a startup is its plan to acquire more and more customers in the long term and in a sustainable fashion.

Three kinds of growth strategies are described in the book:

  • paid growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to be charged for the product or service, the cash earned from early users is reinvested in acquiring new users via advertising for example
  • viral growth in which you rely on the fact that customers are going to bring customers as a side effect of using the product/service
  • sticky growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to use the service in some regular fashion, paying for the service each time (via subscription for example).

These growth strategies are sustainable in the sense that they do not require continuous large capital investments or publicity stunts.

It is important to know as soon as possible which strategy or combination of strategies is the most effective at driving growth.

Applying The Scientific Method

The scientific method is a set of techniques that helps us figure out correct stuff. After making some observations regarding a phenomenon, you formulate a hypothesis about that phenomenon.

The hypothesis is an assumption that needs to be proven correct or incorrect. You then design experimentations that are going to challenge the assumption.

The results of the experimentations makes the correctness or incorrectness of the hypothesisclear allowing us to make judgments about its validity.

In the lean startup methodology, your job as an entrepreneur is to formulate two hypothesis:

  • hypothesis of value (assumptions about your value proposition)
  • hypothesis of growth (assumptions about the effectiveness of the growth strategy)

These hypothesis are then validated/invalidated through experimentation. Following the precepts of lean manufacturing, the lean startup methodology prescribes to make experimentations while minimizing/eliminating waste.

In other words, you have to burn minimum cash, effort and time when running experiments.

An experimentation in the lean startup sense is usually an actual product/service and helps startups in early stage learn invaluable things about their eventual future market.

Sometimes startups learn that nobody wants their product/service, imagine spending 8 months worth of engineering, design and promotion work (not to mention cash) in a product/service only to discover that it does not provide value to anyone.

Minimum Viable Products And Feedback

As we pointed out earlier, an experimentation can be an actual product or service and is called the minimum viable product(MVP).

The MVP is built to contain just enough features to validate the value and growth hypotheses, effectively requiring minimum time, effort and cash.

By getting the MVP launched and in front of real users, entrepreneurs can get concrete feedback from them either directly by asking them (in focus groups for example) or via usage analytics.

Analytics scales better then directly talking to customers but the latter is nonetheless used to cross validate results from the former.

It is crucial to focus on metrics that creates fine grained visibility about the performance of the business when building(or using) a usage analytics system. These metrics are called actionable metrics because they can link causes and effects clearly allowing entrepreneurs to understand the consequences of ideally each action executed. Cohort analysis is an example of a analytics strategy that focuses on actionable metrics.

The bad kind of metrics are called vanity metrics, these tend to hide how the business is performing, gross numbers like total users count are an example of vanity metrics.

The author cites several examples of different startups that managed to validate or debunk their early assumption by building stripped down and non scalable MVPs and even sometimes by not building software at all.

You would be surprised to hear for example how the Dropbox folks in their early stage managed to created a ~4 minute video demonstrating their product while it was still in development. The video allowed them to get more people signed up in their beta waiting list and raise capital more easily.

Closing Thoughts

In the first two parts of the book, the author talks also about how employees inside big companies working on highly innovative products and services can benefit greatly from the lean startup approach, although very interesting this is not very useful for me right now.

The third part, talks about the challenges that arises when the startup gets big and starts to stabilize and how to address them. Basically it revolves around not loosing the innovative spirit of the early days, again, this is not very useful for me so maybe for good future reading.


About the Author

This article was produced by Tech Dominator. see more.

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Women on Top in Tech – Dr. Sanna Gaspard, Founder and CEO of Rubitection



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Dr. Sanna Gaspard is the Founder and CEO of Rubitection, a medical device start-up developing a diagnostic tool for early stage pressure detection, assessment, and management. She is an Entrepreneur, inventor, and biomedical engineer with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, healthcare and medical devices. She has received recognition and awards including being selected as a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards(’13), a semi-finalist for the Big C competition (’14), a finalist for the Mass Challenge Business accelerator in Boston, and taking 1st place at the 3 Rivers Investment Venture Fair’s Technology showcase (‘11). Her vision is to make the Rubitect Assessment System the global standard solution for early bedsore detection and management.

What makes you do what you do? 
I am driven to have impact and improve healthcare as I have a strong drive to problem solve, comes up with new ideas, and see them come to life.

How did you rise in the industry you are in? 
I first focused on getting the educational background and then I pursued the goals I have for myself. I got my PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in medical device development. Having the educational background is important as a woman and minority to assist people in taking your seriously.  After completing my PhD, I focused on bringing my invention for a medical device for early bedsore detection and prevention called the Rubitect Assessment System to market to help save lives and improve care.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I started my startup, Rubitection , because I felt it was the best way to bring the technology to market. I knew that if I did not try to commercialize the technology, it would not make it to the doctors and nurses. I also have confidence that I could manage developing the technology since I had taken classes on entrepreneurship and had my PhD in biomedical engineering with a specialization in medical devices.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
No, I don’t have a specific mentor in my field. I am looking for one at the moment. However, I do look up to Steve Jobs and Oprah as examples of how one can start with nothing and work their way up and build a successful, global, and reputable business and brand.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?  
I first try to find people who have fundamental technical or work experience to be competent to complete the work. I then evaluate the person for intangible skills like independent thinking, reliability, leadership, resilience, organizational skills, strong work ethic, open mindedness/flexibility, and good communication skills.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why? 
I consciously make an effort as a minority woman in tech, I intimately understand the need to promote diversity within my business and outside my business. I first hire the best people for the job and also make a point to hire women and minorities qualified for the position.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?  
It takes resilience, vision, being a team player, an ability to inspire others and delegate work, knowing your weakness, and knowing when to put your business or yourself first.

Advice for others?
My advice to others is to take calculated risks, pursue every opportunity, surround yourself with supporters, build your team with smart dedicated people, and stay focused on your vision. I am striving to implement this advice myself as I work towards commercializing my technology for early bedsore detection, grow my team, and recruit clinical partners to address an $11 billion US healthcare problem which affects millions around the world.

If anyone is interested in learning more about our work or company, please contact us at [email protected].

To learn more about Dr. Sanna Gaspard, CEO of Rubitection visit:

If you’d like to get in touch with Dr. Sanna Gaspard, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about Rubitection, please click here.

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