The round was led by the Times Group, India’s largest media conglomerate – which is also an investor of Flipkart and Snapdeal. Existing investors 500 Startups and Click Ventures as well as new investors Silicon Valley’s Moneta Ventures and White Capital participated.
Made up of a team formerly from huge investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Oddup rates startups with a score of zero to 100, with 100 indicating the least risk. The criteria include product, location, competitors, team, and potential growth, among others. For further guidance, it rates startups as a buy, sell, or hold – with analysis, reports, as well as expected future valuation (here’s the company’s full profile).
Oddup says it provides investors – from angels to venture capitalists and private equity firms – data that is otherwise difficult and time-consuming to acquire.
The company will use the financing to expand across Asia, particularly India.
“Oddup is such a fast-growing global startup that we decided to back and lead their way into India. We look forward to working towards the success of Oddup in setting up an innovative startup rating system for India,” said Sivakumar Sundaram, CEO of Brand Capital, the investment arm of the Times Group.
The question becomes: how useful are tools such as Oddup for investors?
We asked some active VCs in the region for their take.
Jenny Lee, managing partner at GGV Capital, says they’re not using such tools since “startups fail or succeed because of many factors which sometimes cannot be quantified or may not be public.”
“Startups are also never static and will evolve over time in their environment, so a company rated low may become highly successful overnight because of a new supportive regulation or because the investor brings along the ‘x factor’ critical for success,” she adds.
However, Jenny says they may consider taking a look at ratings and reports to double-check against their own due diligence.
Golden Gate Ventures founding partner Vinnie Lauria points out that Oddup’s website “looks great but I don’t want one score to tell me if a startup is good or not; that was the problem with the Mattermark score.” He was referring to the Silicon Valley-based data platform that also scores startups on their growth potential.
As an early stage investor, Vinnie isn’t looking to minimize his risk, but to increase it. “So a startup with a low risk and high score doesn’t excite me. I want high risk, which means the potential for zero outcome is also high – but that’s okay.”
For his part, Dmitry Levit, general partner at Digital Media Partners, welcomes anything that brings transparency to the startup ecosystem. A tool that “manages to apply solid methodology without allowing ‘beauty contest’ dynamics to develop is great for everyone involved,” he says, however noting that he’d need more time to look into Oddup to provide an opinion.
We’ve also asked Oddup’s investors Click Ventures and 500 Startups for their insights and whether they use the product themselves, but we haven’t heard back.
The Oddup score, the company told Tech in Asia, is updated daily to reflect any changes quickly, though it didn’t say anything about information that may not be public. “The Oddup score acts as a barometer of the health of a startup at any given instance but it is also our in-depth analysis and reports which help investors find the next unicorn,” it stressed.
Oddup landed US$1 million in seed funding in November last year.