Interview With mKhoj CEO Naveen Tewari

mKhoj logo

Disclaimer: mKhoj is an advertiser on this site and I use their services to display ads on one of my mobile sites.

mKhoj a mobile advertising startup based in Mumbai, India with offices in Singapore, Bangalore and Palo Alto. The company has received funding totaling $7.6 million from The Mumbai Angels, Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures. I find mKhoj interesting for a couple of reasons.

First it is an example of something I've been expecting ever since the trend of outsourcing US and European software development to India started about six years ago. I knew that Indian entrepreneurs and engineers would not be content for long to limit themselves to doing contract programing for Western companies. The rise of Indian based international software and Internet companies targeting and competing in the word market was inevitable and mKhoj is an example of this. Indian firms have access to a large base of well educated and skilled technical talent giving them the potential to succeed in any area of technology. But in mobile they have the added advantage of being inside the second largest (after China and ahead of the US) and fastest growing major mobile market in the world in terms of subscribers.

The second thing that is interesting about mKhoj is that it is tapping into the globalization of the mobile web. Mobile web usage is growing fastest in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa and the same is true of mobile website launches. I try to look at every new English language mobile site. It used to be that virtually all of the new sites I saw were coming from the US and the UK, but that's no longer true. Now new sites are as likely to be from South Africa or India as from the US or UK. These new mobile publishers are going to want to monetize their sites with advertising and I suspect many would prefer to use an ad network based in their own country rather than halfway around the world. Local networks are more likely to have access to locally relevant ads and dealing with an advertising partner in your own country simplifies fund transfers and tax reporting.

Naveen Tewari CEO - mKhoj

For these reasons, when mKhoj offered me the opportunity to interview their CEO, Naveen Tewari I had no hesitation. The interview was conducted by email and the following is a transcript it:


DB) What are the number of mKhoj employees, advertisers and publishers. How many mobile ads do you serve per month.

  • mKhoj employees: 65
  • mKhoj publishers: ~500
  • mKhoj advertisers: ~100
  • Ads per month: >1 billion

DB) What markets do you serve and what areas are you looking to expand into.
NT) Primary focus is SE Asia, South Asia, Middle East, & Africa. For the next 12 months, we would want to continue to strengthen our position in these countries.

DB) As a mKhoj publisher I often see days where mKhoj fills very few of my requests for ads. This is true of other ad providers as well. Would you agree that there is more mobile web inventory than available ads? To what degree do you feel is this related to the global recession and what efforts is mKhoj making to increase the ad supply?
NT) Ad inventory as well as mobile web inventory fluctuate due to various factors. We observe that advertisers who are on the mKhoj network have been seeing positive ROI and hence continue to spend on the mobile medium, despite the global recession. mKhoj also focuses particularly on ensuring high advertiser ROI and our self-serve application enables advertisers to get started with mobile marketing very quickly, with features like 2-minute Ad Creation.

DB) Do you agree that CPC is lower on mobile than on the full web? Shouldn't it be the other way around given the personal nature of mobile, the fact that it's harder for consumers to overlook mobile ads and the greater targeting possibilities? Is mKhoj doing anything to persuade advertisers that mobile ads are more valuable?
NT) Advertisers who have been working with mKhoj have seen that the medium is very effective and that their ad spend is highly measurable. This has helped us sign up more advertisers as well as enhance the acceptance of the medium. As more advertisers start using mobile internet as a medium, competition will help increase the CPC. Even at this stage, there are specific segments of the traffic which see high advertiser demand and therefore command very high CPCs.

DB) Please describe what makes mKhoj unique in it's field. Why should a publisher or advertiser choose mKhoj over other larger and better known networks like AdMob or AdSense.
NT) mKhoj provides Advertisers with possibly the best ROI by virtue of its targeting technology and reach, superior inventory quality and geographic focus. mKhoj also provides Publishers with great monetization by high fill rates as well as a generous revenue share. We feel this is of significant value for a new advertiser or publisher to choose to work with us. Many of our large Publishers work with us for exactly this reason.

DB) What sort of technical support options do you offer to publishers?
NT) mKhoj is very customer-centric and we aim to provide a great experience for our customers. Our Publisher Support team helps publishers to create the appropriate ad code for their site, integrate it on their sites and ensure that ads are coming on their sites. We have email based support as well as provide quick turnaround on support issues that aim to delight our customers.

DB) Does mKhoj adapt ads to fit screen width and other handset capabilities? Are you doing anything special for the iPhone and other phones with advanced browsers? Does mKhoj support embedding ad requests in installable mobile applications?
NT) Our Targeting engine optimizes ads being served as per multiple factors such as handset capabilities, make and model, screen width and resolution. We are constantly adding relevant features to our ad serving product to capitalize on the trends in the mobile internet space, be it enhanced targeting features like S60, Opera, new ad formats like Dynamic Text Ads, support for upcoming browsers, a wide variety of Call-to-Actions such as Click2Call, Click2SMS, Ad Code for installable mobile applications etc.

DB) Please share you vision on the future of mobile advertising and any other thoughts that you feel might be of interest to my readers.
NT) Mobile advertising is on a growth path, with many advertisers choosing the medium due to its measurability and ROI-driven nature. mKhoj has been rapidly expanding its footprint as well as product capabilities. We expect performance based advertising to be the mainstay and innovation to happen around Ad Formats, customer experience and targeting capabilities.


As I said, I use mKhoj on one of my mobile sites, which gets the majority of its traffic from Asia. I use AdMob (another Wap Review advertiser, BTW) as my primary ad provider and I'm very happy with them. AdMob's ads consistently pay more per click than those of the other ad networks I've tried and the click through rate is better too. But lately AdMob's fill rates have fallen and are especially low in the Philippines which currently accounts for 29% of's total traffic. So I use mKhoj as backfill. On every page request, I first try to get an ad from AdMob and if I don't get one I call mKhoj. It works pretty well, there is no noticeable increase in page load time and mKhoj adds a bit of income where before there was none. I also like that mKhoj, like AdMob, pays US publishers in dollars using PayPal rather than the wire transfers that most of the other non-US networks use. I don't like wire transfers because there are hefty bank fees involved and I'd rather not share my bank account information with third parties.

For mobile publishers with signifigant traffic from the areas that mKhoj targets (SE Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa) I recomend taking a look at mKhoj, it's a rising star and has been a good partner to work with.

9 thoughts on “Interview With mKhoj CEO Naveen Tewari

  1. @speeromarketing

    Re: "this is a sponsored entry". While mKhoj buys advertising on this blog and asked me if I wanted to interview Naveen, they did not pay me to write the post. I thought it would be interesting to my readers to hear what their CEO had to say.

    I agree that un-audited traffic or revenue numbers from any company are best taken with a grain of salt.
  2. 1B impressions @ 1% CTR (which is not uncommon in mob advertising) gives 10 million clicks a month. @ $0.04 a click, that gives $400,000 per month. I find that extremely hard to believe that mkhoj is doing $400k a month.
    Also, their ad console lists hardly 10 advertisers..WAPReview are you writing this just because this is a sponsored entry or can we expect more from crap like this from you in the future..
  3. I really like this interview. Mkhoj seems to be a very good option to mobile advertisement. They're doing a good job with only 65 employees.

    *I'm wondering which segments are the most of advertisers from...*
  4. Pingback: Carnival of the Mobilists #159 « Mobile Broadband Blog

  5. Pingback: אלווריון בצרות: בוטלה העיסקה עם נורטל « תוכן סלולרי - הבלוג של גבע ק

  6. I use mkhoj and I am based out of US, I find them to deliver more revenue to me than admob. The CTRs are comparable but the fill rates from mkhoj are higher than admob and what counts is total revenue. Good work guys ... admob needs a strong competition ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *