Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Spend management firm Clara secures $60M amid rapid transaction growth in LatAm

Clara, a Mexico-based spend management company, closed on $60 million in equity in a round led by GGV Capital.

The company launched its product in 2021 and provides reporting software for better financial decision-making, locally issued corporate cards, bill pay and financing solutions. It also continues to prove rapid growth. In addition, the company partners with financial institutions to provide additional lending capabilities.

Clara is working with 10,000 companies across Latin America, notably in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, and reports an annual run rate of 5 million credit card transactions, which is equivalent to $1 billion, Gerry Giacomán Colyer, Clara’s co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch.

TechCrunch reported on Clara in March 2021 about the launch and its $3.5 million in pre-seed funding, then again just months later when the company grabbed $30 million in equity and a $50 million revolving credit line. General Catalyst led the seed and DST Global led the Series A.

Since then, Clara was able to secure one more equity round in 2021 — that’s three now if you’re counting — with $70 million in Series B funding led by Coatue. It also brought in commitments for up to $150 million in credit from Goldman Sachs in 2022 and $90 million from Accial Capital a month ago.

“It’s been great momentum for Clara,” Giacomán Colyer said. “Over 10x in transactional volume is coming from revenue. With Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, we are covering two-thirds of LatAm’s GDP. So, there’s been lots of growth since the Series B.”

The new $60 million investment is an extension of the Series B, he added. It includes new investors Acrew Capital, Citius, Citi Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, Ethos, Commerce Ventures, Goanna Capital, Bayhouse Capital and Fluent Ventures, which joined existing investors monashees, Coatue, Picus Capital, DST Global Partners, Alter Global, General Catalyst and over a dozen angel investors.

Clara has now raised $160 million in total equity financing. In May 2021, TechCrunch reported that the company’s valuation was $130 million. Giacomán Colyer confirmed that, but declined to provide an updated value beyond “the valuation has grown substantially.”

Clara’s co-founders Diego Iván García Escobedo and Gerry Giacomán Colyer Image Credits: Clara

As part of the new investment, GGV Capital managing director Hans Tung will join Clara’s board of directors.

“The Clara team is amongst the strongest that we have seen in Latin America,” Tung said in a written statement. “Expense management is a huge category globally, and Clara is the first to use software to build solutions in LatAm. The team had encountered spend management challenges as operating executives themselves and understood the problem well.”

The new funding will be used to grow Clara’s engineering and product teams and technology development and to round out its leadership team.

The company recently made new hires across engineering, product and risk that came from tech and financial giants like Meta, Nubank and American Express. They include Raquel Hernández, vice president of engineering; Eduardo Moore, director of product for Clara Brazil; Alberto Ramos, director of operations; Nicolas Caccaviello, director of fraud and acceptance; and Tina Reich, who joins as board observer and risk advisor.

Next up, Giacomán Colyer said Clara has been an early developer of payment solutions around Brazil’s instant payment method, Pix, and is close to launching its product. It is also looking at how artificial intelligence applications can benefit the gathering of data for insights into a customer’s transactional profile.

“We’re only 2 years old, so we still see a ton of upside, including companies continuing to come to us every week,” he said. “Just in March we were meeting all these top line metrics, between 25% and 40%. It was a really outstanding month, and month over month, even in our most conservative scenarios, we see it continuing to grow over 2x through the end of this year.”

April 26 editor’s note to correct the company’s base to Mexico.

Spend management firm Clara secures $60M amid rapid transaction growth in LatAm by Christine Hall originally published on TechCrunch

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