Mexican startup Clara, which offers corporate credit cards and expense management resources, is expanding to Colombia, the company announced Thursday, the latest prong in a broader Latin America expansion.
Clara joined the exclusive club of just seven Mexican “unicorns,” or startups valued at $1 billion or more, in December, the same month it opened offices in Brazil.
The move brings a $10 million investment to Latin America’s fourth-largest economy, the startup‘s Colombia head, Leonardo Ramos, told Reuters before the announcement.
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Clara’s co-founders, Gerry Giacoman and Diego Garcia met while working at Grow Mobility, the company behind the rentable green Grin scooters that took over sidewalks across Mexico and Brazil several years ago.
The two know the cumbersome process to start a company in Latin America, particularly in obtaining a company credit card, which usually required a trip to the nearest bank branch.
“We’ve lived this,” Giacoman told Reuters. “And we don’t want that, we want to help businesses here to be more competitive and to operate with agility and clarity with their finances,” he said.
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With Clara, businesses can register for virtual or physical Mastercards in just a few minutes, the company said, without ever having to set foot in a bank.
While using Mastercard, a brand with international recognition, Clara also tailors its services to each country, gaining a local advantage in terms of acceptance, Ramos said.
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Giacoman and Garcia launched Clara in 2020. In May 2021, Clara raised its $30 million Series A round, led by Tom Stafford from DST Global, the $30 million Series A round also had Kaszek Ventures, Avid Ventures, and previous investors like General Catalyst.
By December 2021, it snagged a $70 million Series B funding round led by investment firm Coatue, adding to funding from angel investors behind other top startups in the region, like delivery service Rappi and cryptocurrency exchange Bitso.
“We hope to grow our number of clients around five times by the end of the year. So that’s around 15,000 between the three countries and others we’re working on expanding to,” Giacoman said.