Digital marketing firm Alphaom takes InMobi to NCLT over non-payment of dues

According to Alphaom’s petition, InMobi owes the company Rs 1.52 crore for a value-added service campaign.

Update: The article has been updated with Alphaom's statement.

Bengaluru-based advertising tech unicorn InMobi has been taken to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by Alphaom Marketing over alleged non-payment of dues amounting to Rs 2.34 crore.

According to Alphaom’s petition, a copy of which is with Tech2, Japan’s SoftBank-backed InMobi Technology owes the digital marketing company Rs 1.52 crore for a value-added service campaign.

Alphaom levied interest charges at 18 percent, amounting to Rs 82 lakh, over the principal amount of Rs 1.52 crore as on July 2019, when it moved the NCLT.

The National Company Law Tribunal.

The National Company Law Tribunal.

"We are contesting this claim on merits and since the matter is sub judice in NCLT, we are unable to comment further," an InMobi spokesperson said.

Alphaom did not respond to Tech2 queries. The story will be updated to include the company’s comments.

A single-judge bench of Rajeswara Rao Vittanala is hearing the case. InMobi didn’t attend two of the three hearings held so far, sources said.

In May 2016, InMobi asked Alphaom to run a campaign, which was done and volumes were delivered to the accused, the petition says.

Subsequently, two invoices — of Rs 1.43 crore and Rs 9 lakh — were raised in June and July which InMobi failed to honour.

On August 17, 2016, Alpha wrote a mail to InMobi. According to the petition, the company “never raised an objection” and “categorically acknowledged its debt” to Alphaom. Still, InMobi continued to delay the payment on “some frivolous grounds”.

The complaint has been filed under Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act, which says if after 10 days from the date of delivery of notice or invoice that demands payment, the money has not been paid, the creditor can file an application before relevant authorities for initiating a corporate insolvency resolution process.

An Alphaom spokesperson has responded saying:

Inmobi uses its goliath size in the Advertising Industry to arm twist smaller players like us. Our case is a simple one; Inmobi which partners with Advertisers sublet/outsourced multiple digital campaigns to us (which they gotten paid for from their Advertising partner and are supposed to pay us our share per agreed terms and conditions). Inmobi constantly asked us to increase traffic/conversions, we fulfilled their requests beyond our acceptable creditor limits based on their assurances. However, when we asked for our payments, they delayed and till date have not paid us citing frivolous reasons. It is only right they give us our share which they have received from their Advertiser(s) less their commission owing to the campaigns we ran for them. In our opinion, their critical financial status (as outlined by their Auditor in their statutory audit report) has led them to adopt such tactics against former partners such as us in a bid to stay afloat. However, we believe fully that the NCLT process and the Indian legal system will give us justice.

(Also read: InMobi ties up with China's APUS in bid to challenge Google)

InMobi in September raised $45 million for its mobile content platform Glance from Mithril Capital.

InMobi, founded by Naveen Tiwari who is also the CEO, has raised $320 million and has SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins, Sherpalo Ventures and Lightspeed as its lead investors.

Recently, the company also acquired video-content platform Roposo in a $20 million cash-and-stock deal.

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