Clara takes $150 million from Goldman Sachs to double her pockets

Clara takes $150 million from Goldman Sachs to double her pockets

In December last year, Mexican fintech Clara became a unicorn after raising US$70 million in an investment led by Coatue Management. A good part of the amount was reserved to reinforce the startup’s operation in new markets in Latin America, mainly Brazil, where the startup had just started its operations.

Just over eight months later, Clara is again raising capital. This time, however, it is a debt transaction made with Goldman Sachs. The amount is also quite different: US$ 150 million, more than double the amount raised at the end of 2021.

“It is a debt operation that will allow Clara to operate on a larger scale and with a focus on larger companies,” says Gerry Giacomán Colyer, co-founder and CEO of Clara, alongside Diego García. Before, the duo had already worked at Grin Scooters, a company that, in 2019, merged with the Brazilian Yellow and gave rise to Grow Mobility.

The idea is that the amount obtained from Goldman Sachs, whose transaction details were kept confidential, will be used to finance fintech’s credit operations. The money raised at the end of 2021, with equity, will be reserved for investments in new technologies and in the expansion of the business to new markets.

With operations very focused on corporate cards, Clara’s competition is against fintechs such as Stark Bank, which took the opposite path, starting with payment solutions and later becoming a card issuer. Other digital banks also rival the Mexican startup. Among them, C6 Bank, BS2 and LetsBank.

Clara makes money in two ways. First, with the interchange fees charged on corporate cards, the company’s cards use the Mastercard brand and have no fees. Then, with a product that manages companies’ expenses.

It can be said that Clara’s business model was inspired by a very Brazilian operation, which is still far from the country. This is Brex, an American fintech created by Brazilians Henrique Dugubras and Pedro Franceschi, which, like the Mexican company, has DST Global as one of its investors.

With a greater presence in Mexico, but with Brazil as a potential market to be its largest operation in Latin America, Clara has also landed in Colombia. In total, the company serves 6,000 customers with corporate cards and expense management services. As found out the NeoFeedabout 600 are in Brazil.

When it was structured, Clara’s operation was more focused on small and medium-sized companies, with staff made up of at least between 5 and 10 employees. This helped the company to scale its business. In recent months, however, fintech has been seeking agreements with larger clients.

For the future, Colyer does not rule out seeking more resources in the market. One of the factors that can accelerate this process is the expansion plan for new markets. On the radar are countries like Chile and Peru. “We launched the company in Mexico, but we always saw ourselves as a Latin American company,” says Colyer.

The geographic expansion should start to gain more traction in the coming quarters, but there is no exact date. Until the end of the year, the tendency is for the company to only focus on what is already in operation. The goal is to increase the number of customers to 10,000 by the end of the year. Brazil should concentrate most of the growth.

Regarding the functionalities and the expansion of its portfolio, Clara is evaluating investing in products such as payroll management, new forms of payment and longer terms for customers.

Source: Neofeed

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