Optoacoustic image formation is conventionally based upon ultrasound time-of-flight readings from multiple detection positions. Herein, we exploit acoustic scattering to physically encode the position of optical absorbers in the acquired signals, thus reducing the amount of data required to reconstruct an image from a single waveform. This concept is experimentally tested by including a random distribution of scatterers between the sample and an ultrasound detector array. Ultrasound transmission through a randomized scattering medium was calibrated by raster scanning a light-absorbing microparticle across a Cartesian grid. Image reconstruction from a single time-resolved signal was then enabled with a regularized model-based iterative algorithm relying on the calibration signals. The signal compression efficiency is facilitated by the relatively short acquisition time window needed to capture the entire scattered wave field. The demonstrated feasibility to form an image using a single recorded optoacoustic waveform paves a way to the development of faster and affordable optoacoustic imaging systems.