Montréal-based Oamo has emerged from stealth with plans to become a decentralized data broker.
The Web3 startup has secured $1.7 million CAD ($1.25 million USD) in pre-seed financing solely from White Star Capital to build out its team and minimum viable product.
Taking aim at the existing data brokerage industry, Oamo aims to make it possible for individuals to monetize their data and build direct relationships with companies while remaining anonymous. Founded in November 2022 by CEO Yannick Folla and CTO Ahmed Hadjeres, Oamo sees room to replace traditional data brokers, which often access, aggregate, and sell user data without consent or knowledge.
“We believe the industry is ready for a change, shifting back control to individuals when it comes to their personal property—their data.”
“The data brokerage industry has been built on the principle that our data should be acquired and monetized against our will and without our knowledge so that any company can target us with unwelcomed ads,” Folla told BetaKit. “We believe the industry is ready for a change, shifting back control to individuals when it comes to their personal property—their data.”
Oamo’s pre-seed round, which closed in January and was raised via a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE), marks Oamo’s first funding to date. Oamo is using this capital to hire, ship its beta and start bringing businesses and consumers to its platform. Per Oamo, Index Coop, Lighthouse World, Ledn, and Saddle Finance have already joined the firm’s launch program. Oamo has opened up its waitlist and plans to roll out its beta in September.
Folla and Hadjeres have been focused on the crypto and Web3 sectors for some time. Folla, an ex-White Star Capital analyst, previously led Toronto-based Figment’s DataHub team and co-founded Montréal crypto art centre 0x Society. Following a five-year tenure at Eventbrite, Hadjeres created Montréal software development and blockchain firm Product Shop.
To date, Folla and Hadjeres have built out an eight-person team that also includes alumni from Web3 and crypto firms like Kraken and Polygon, Montréal tech company Ssense, and financial services and investment bank Morgan Stanley.
White Star Capital general partner Sep Alavi noted that “user data has become an essential commodity in the growth of technology companies over the past few decades.”
“Web3 startups have the same fundamental need for user acquisition and retention, but also their own unique demands for ID and data tracking solutions,” Alavi told BetaKit. “When Yannick and Ahmed came to us with Oamo, we knew they were the ones to crack this re-think of data brokerage that serves both users and businesses.”
As Folla noted, consumer awareness regarding data privacy issues and the value of their personal data has grown in recent years following various data leaks and scandals, and regulatory scrutiny has increased.
In the wake of Europe’s Digital Markets Act, which was passed in early 2022, and the United States’ (US) American Data Privacy and Protection Act, currently before US Congress, the CEO predicted that accessing user data will become more difficult over the next five years. Within this context, Oamo aims to offer companies a different means of doing so—a consensual one that also benefits users.
According to Folla, Oamo ultimately hopes to serve more than just the Web3 space. The CEO claimed that the startup will not depend on its own token or token prices to achieve adoption. “We will never have a token,” he added.
Speaking directly about the ongoing crypto and Web3 market downturn, Folla acknowledged that these conditions “might slow” Oamo’s growth during the startup’s early days since Oamo intends to target Web3 consumers and companies at its launch. However, the CEO expressed confidence that over the longer term, once the market stabilizes and the startup expands beyond just the Web3 ecosystem, Oamo will be well-positioned.
Feature image courtesy Oamo.