A startup that ranks startups and ecosystems around the world has secured $US6 million ($8 million) in Series A funding, in a round led by Indian media giant The Times Group with follow-on investment from 500Startups and Click Ventures.
Silicon Valley’s Moneta Ventures and White Capital also participated in the round for Oddup, which was founded by Australian James Giancotti in Hong Kong in 2015.
“With a Series A you pop a champagne for five minutes and then you get back to work,” Giancotti tells StartupSmart.
Oddup is aiming to be the leading research platform for startups in the Asia Pacific region and is currently operating in South East Asia and Australia.
The latest investment round brings Oddup’s total funding raised to $US7 million ($AUD9.3 million). It’s “purely for growth”, says Giancotti.
Since Giancotti last spoke with StartupSmart in September 2016, the startup’s global workforce has risen from 25 to nearly 50.
“We’re hiring about four to five people a month globally,” he says.
By the end of this year, Giancotti’s expects to have grown Oddup’s Melbourne team of four to about 12 to 15 employees.
With the bulk of its workforce in Mumbai, Hong Kong and Melbourne, and analysts on the ground across South East and North Asia, Giancotti says the key goal over the next few months will be covering India’s ecosystem.
“We want to be a true Asia representative of the startup scene; we couldn’t do Asia without India,” he says.
“To me when people talk about Asia they’re not just talking about China. They’re talking about Australia as well.”
Giancotti believes funding raised by startups in the Asian region will exceed investment in the United States over the next five to six years.
“The best thing about being an Australian is we get Asia,” he says. “Australia is a multicultural hotbed.”
With Australia’s proximity to fast growing startup nations in Asia and the time zones “on your side”, he says, entrepreneurs Down Under are well-placed to find success in the Asia Pacific region.
“This is an Australian entrepreneur’s benefit,” he says.
The fundraising process
While Giancotti says Oddup could have raised much more, he decided to end the round at $US6 million because it’s enough to keep the startup afloat with the revenue it’s already generating.
“I like to view it, as a startup founder, that we should raise enough to do the experiments and the growth that we want to achieve and have a little bit of buffer in the bank … we’ll probably look at a Series B in six to nine months,” he says.
“After we hit Asia [we will] take the rest of the world on.”
But reflecting on the fundraising process, Giancotti says the game has changed rapidly over the past couple of years. An increasing number of investors want to see real traction with users and numbers before backing new ventures, he says.
“Really make sure you’re at a position to do a Series A because the bar is set much higher and getting those easy rounds is never that easy,” he says.
“We are making money and able to prove that we are.”
Giancotti believes founders raising capital must be “a step ahead” of the level they are raising for; if a startup is raising a seed round, it should be at a Series A level, he says.
“[It’s like] you need to work as a manager before you become a manger,” he says.
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