Mexico-based fintech Clara is launching a new feature that promises to take the company’s platform to a whole new level. Founded in April 2020 by Gerry Giacomán and Diego García, Clara offers an end-to-end spend management software that combines customizable corporate (physical and virtual) credit cards and a dashboard for expenses control. Now, a new feature will also allow companies to manage not only credit cards and reimbursements expenses but also their invoices, bill payment, and bank transfers flow.
“We are very excited about it because this new feature brings Clara’s platform closer to everything we know it can be. Companies will be able to control everything within the platform, making hundreds of payments with a click and directly from the platform, managing a list of vendors, and connecting them with their tax account information. Notifications can be automatically sent to these vendors, helping companies to keep their entire operation on schedule—all in real-time. No bank can offer a solution similar to this one,” Giacomán explained in an exclusive interview with LABS.
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According to him, Clara has nearly 1,000 corporate clients in Mexico. About a third of them are high-growth startups and tech companies, such as Creditas, Kavak, Casai, and Valoreo, among others, and some of them also operate in other Latin American countries, which helps Clara envision and even test its next moves in the region.
The company’s plan is to launch the platform in Brazil this third quarter while studying Chile‘s and Colombia‘s markets as possible next steps after that.
With almost 100 employees in Mexico, Giacomán expects Clara to reach the end of 2021 with 150 filled positions, 50 of them in Brazil, where the company has been hiring.
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Layon Costa, a Brazilian executive who has worked at companies such as QuintoAndar and Rappi, is leading Clara’s operations in Brazil. Clara also has a waiting list available to Brazilian companies interested in its product.
Clara’s services have no cost to its clients. For every transaction performed at a POS terminal, Clara obtains a percentage paid by the businesses where customers use their corporate credit cards. “We do not disclose specific numbers, but I can tell you that we basically doubled our transacted volume between June in July,” said Giacomán. The company also claims to have grown a hundred times in its first year of operations (between April 2020 and May 2021).
With all expenses organized in one place, Clara’s clients will also be able to use the platform as a starting point for applying for credit based on their future transactions. With the receivables market gaining new potential after regulatory changes in Brazil and open banking protocols being implemented, the country can be a turning point for Clara. Eyeing this, Clara is also about to sign a contract for a $50 million credit line with an undisclosed partner.
The fintech’s next step, however, is somewhat challenging. In Brazil, the company that was born inspired by U.S.-based startups like Ramp and Brex, will find strong competitors like Cora and Conta Simples.
Behind Clara’s fast growth is a super team of investors and entrepreneurs supporting two experienced entrepreneurs that already lived their ups and downs – both founders worked at Grow Mobility, a micromobility startup born from the merger between the Brazilian Yellow and the Mexican Grin in early 2019 and which filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2020, at the height of the pandemic and the lack of demand for its services.
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Led by Tom Stafford from DST Global, the $35 million Series A round raised by Clara this year had KASZEK, Avid Ventures, and previous investors like General Catalyst amid its participants, but not only that. Several CEOs and entrepreneurs of Latin American companies making the headlines, attracting millions in investments, are also betting on Clara.
Amongst the investors are Sergio Furio from Creditas, Sebastián Mejía from Rappi, Daniel Vogel from Bitso, Brynne McNulty Rojas from Habi, Sebastián Castro from Kushki, Manolo Atala from Fairplay, Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos from La Haus, Deepak Chhugani from NuvoCargo, Sebastián Kreis from Xepelin, Sebastián Villarreal from Súper, Ricardo Weder from Jüsto, and Ariel Lambrecht from 99.