Indian Startup InMobi May Be The Big Winner In Apple-Google Ad Brawl

Mobile advertising network InMobi has come a long way since we first covered them in April 2008 (they were then called mKhoj). Today they are probably the second biggest mobile advertising network in the world, with nearly 17 billion monthly impressions combined on mobile apps and mobile websites. Google’s AdMob has 18 billion impressions/month).

Most of InMobi’s ad impressions are outside of the U.S. The bulk – 10 billion – are in Asia where the company first launched. 2 billion are in the U.S., where the company has had limited operations since January 2010. Africa takes 2.3 billion, Europe 1.6 billion and the Middle East .5 billion. A full U.S. launch took place last week, and a Japan launch is coming soon.

How well will InMobi do in the U.S.? They were bullish before the recent news about Apple taking steps to make it nearly impossible for non-independent advertising networks like AdMob to work on the the iPhone and iPad.

Now, with the market in disarray and the FTC looking into the situation they think they can grab a lot of market share really fast. That’s because they’re hitting the ground running with a self serve platform and a human sales team. Apple’s own iAds is actually going to have to catch up to InMobi in some respects.

InMobi isn’t just some random Asian focused ad network. They’re backed in part by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures and revenues, we’ve heard, are in the $35 million range already. The company is targeting $75 million in 2010, say our sources.

Leena Rao rightly points out that while the new rules, if they stand, both help and hurt independent ad networks. They can grab market share but they probably can’t get acquired, for example. But InMobi doesn’t seem too concerned. Who knows how long Apple can keep these rules in place. And there are lots of other mobile platforms out there, particularly the exploding Android ecosystem. And while chaos reigns the smart guys will grab everything they can.

We interviewed InMobi CEO Naveen Tewari last week to talk about his business. The video is below: