Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures have ploughed $7.1 Million into mKhoj, a mobile advertising company based in Mumbai, India. It’s quite a “healthy” investment considering that its competitor mGinger received only $2 Million in funding last year.
The mKhoj platform lets companies advertise on mobile phones by reaching out to targeted consumers. It also lets publishers monetize their traffic via contextual ads.
mKhoj began in November 2006 as a local search service that helped mobile users search for attractive shopping deals in their vicinity. (khoj in Hindi means “search”). When this did not take off as expected, the founders quickly transitioned the company into a “Mobile Advertising Marketplace”.
The company was founded by Naveen Tewari, a Harvard grad and ex-McKinsey consultant. This is his first startup as an entrepreneur; his earlier role was with Charles River Ventures, a top tier VC firm focusing on early stage investments in software and communications.
The Mumbai Angels, who were the first to invest in mKhoj, may have a second hit on their hands after the successful exit of MadHouse, a DVD rental firm, last year. Praveen Chakravarty (COO, BNP Securities India ), Sasha Mirchandani (Partner, Blue Run Ventures) and Manoj Maheshwari (Chairman, Aurovision), all members of Mumbai Angels, invested $500,000. The Mumbai Angels are considered to be good ‘Mentor Capitalists’ with good connections and smart strategy advice.