AdNear raises Rs 35 crore in its first round funding

BANGALORE: Location-based mobile advertising platform AdNear has raised Rs 35 crore in its first round of funding from venture capital firms Canaan Partners and Sequoia Capital, signaling the growing attractiveness of the sector for risk capital.

The funds will be used by the Bangalore and Singapore-based startup to expand its presence across the Asia Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, as well as towards building its team.

“We decided to participate in the mobile advertising eco-system, and picked AdNear, because it has built technology to provide target advertising on mobile phones,” Rahul Khanna, partner, Cannan Partners, said.

The four-year old startup, promoted by Anil Mathews, has developed its own platform that does not require Global Positioning System (GPS). It also works on both feature and smart phones. Within a year of launching its service, it has picked up multinational customers, such as Nokia, Toyota and Samsung.

Sequoia and Canaan declined to state their exact holding, only saying they would hold minority stakes in the company.

“It’s a technology play after a very large market of mobile advertising that has not been explored in this part of the world,” Mohit Bhatnagar, managing director at Sequoia Capital said on the AdNear transaction.

The investment comes soon after Bangalore-based InMobi, an independent mobile advertising company announced that it was shutting its operations in Africa and Russia.

The global mobile advertising market is dominated by Google’s AdMob, with growth coming from markets where smart phones dominate, including, Japan Korea and the US.

In September last year, InMobi raised $200 million – till recently, the largest deal in the global mobile internet space – from Japanese telecommunications and media corporation Softbank.

Mojiva raised $7 million earlier in the month, while Jumptap raised $27.5 million in July, prior to its public offering.

On the mobile side, Canaan Partners had earlier invested in interactive mobile content manager Cellcast in 2007, and has also invested in mobile gaming company Kabam.