#Asia Hong Kong-based Oddup raises US$1M in seed round


“A lot of Chinese startups are full of sh*t,” says James Giancotti, Founder and CEO of analytics company that ranks startups


Oddup announced today US$1 million in seed funding led by Kima Ventures, Click Ventures and Bigcolors, with participation from Big Bloom, Glooh Ventures, Justin Dry and Andre Eikmeier (CEOs of Vinomofo, Aussie-based wine deals site) and other angel investors.

The Hong Kong-based company rates startups in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan on a scale of 1 to 100, with a higher score signifying a less-risky investment for potential VCs and angels. The analytics are based on trends, expected future valuations and potential high returns.

James Giancotti, CEO of Oddup, spent three years at Goldman Sachs prior to Oddup. Giancotti was also Founder of Hong Kong-based early-stage fund Bigcolors, which he left to focus on Oddup in 2014.

Oddup’s goals are to “look at the numbers and the real deal,” says Giancotti, a Hong Kong native.

“A lot of Chinese startups are full of sh*t. They raise a couple million, but what people fail to see is that raising money isn’t a [signifier] of potential or growth.”

This is why Oddup is data driven, factoring everything from previous investors to the cities that the startups are based in as metrics of growth and potential. 

“One of our goals is to increase angel investors worldwide. You’re going to invest US$100,000 in this company —  99 per cent of the time, it is not going to be the next Facebook or unicorn — but is it going to die? Because nine out of ten die. We want to help startups get funding,” says Giancotti.” 

Also Read: [Updated] Alibaba officially launches US$129M Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund

Highest ranked startups in Hong Kong


Some of the top performing startups in Hong Kong, according to Oddup.

In Hong Kong’s startup sector, Giancotti ranks “fintech number one, IoT, second, probably, to a lesser context.”

The hottest startups in Hong Kong, Giancotti says, are: WeLab (the fintech company behind Hong Kong’s first peer-to-peer lending business, WeLend.hk), CompareAsiaGroup, 9gag, Bitgame Labs and 8security.

Welend is one of the highest-ranked startups on the site, ranking 81. 

Other things that the site is great for? Comparing similar startups, should an investor be on the fence. For example, according to the site, EasyVan (aka Lalamove in China) is doing better overall than competitor Gogovan. Giancotti elaborates:  Gogovan is well-known but only within Hong Kong, while EasyVan (aka Lalamove) has penetrated the mainland China market. 

Aside from the popularity of fintech and delivery services, Giancotti also recommends investors keep an eye out for the rise of storage solutions (such as Boxful) and blog aggregator Notey.

“What Notey is doing is really interesting. They have the potential to become really big, if they keep on the same track,” says Giancotti.

Measuring the metrics

“The more information we have from startups the better we can evaluate. We think we have a 99 per cent accuracy rate,” Giancotti told e27. 

There is the occasional scenario that startups get upset, after receiving a low number. “Sometimes they ask us to re-evaluate. In that case, we ask startups to provide details and documents that could possibly affect their ranking,” say the Oddup Founder. 

Oddup provides a free plan, where users can sign up and see where startups rank alongside an in-depth analyst plan, which costs US$99 per month. On the flip side, the analytics company also provides a pay-to-rate service for startups not yet rated on the platform. This service, which launched last month, costs US$499.

The company states that it currently has 50,000 customers already using the platform, supported by Oddup’s team of 22. The team is majority based in Hong Kong, with staff in Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. For now, the startup is focusing on China and emerging markets, as well as prepping  for the launch of the platform in Europe and Australia coming early 2016.

Oddup’s growth has been driven by an increased demand from both angel investors and corporate customers, the latter which includes J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas.

“We consider ourselves a Hong Kong-born company with a global presence,” says Giancotti.

 We were curious and had to ask: How would Oddup rank itself?

“If we rank ourselves, we currently have a 71 out of 100. Which is in the green, but we have to do better. We are still in the seed stage!” says Giancotti.

As for any company that would come in at 100 company, Giancotti has to pause. “Probably Apple,” that’s the only one that would come close.” 

Also Read: Hong Kong’s Tink Labs raises US$13M from Foxconn subsidiary

Image Credit: Oddup 

The post Hong Kong-based Oddup raises US$1M in seed round appeared first on e27.

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