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Clear raises $75 mn in Series C round, eyes international expansion
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Clear, an online taxation and fintech software provider that was formerly named ClearTax, has raised $75 million as a part of its Series C fundraise led by Kora Capital with global fintech Stripe, Alua Capital, and Think Investments participating in the round. 

Stripe’s investment in Clear comes just days after the US-based fintech made its first acquisition in India of Bengaluru-based reconciliation software provider Recko.  

Clear plans to use the funds to expand its offerings for business customers as it looks to introduce products for payments and invoice-based discounting. The company will also look to set its foot in international geographies including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Western Europe. 

The company will double down on functions of product, engineering and design, hiring 250 new members to the team in the coming months. 

“Today businesses are asking us for new use cases on the platform. We look to add invoice-based discounting (credit) to our software offering, while allowing enterprises to automate vendor payments amongst other used-cases. International expansion is another growth lever for Clear. Since Indian fintech is ahead of the international curve, it helps us to efficiently serve customers in foreign geographies, and gives us a tremendous headstart in our international expansion,” said Archit Gupta, founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Clear, in an interaction with Mint. 

The current fundraise values Clear at around $700 million, a person aware of the talks told Mint on condition of anonymity. Gupta declined to comment on the company’s valuation.  

Clear looks to establish presence in Saudi Arabia over the next two months, and expand its presence in the UAE and Western Europe by April 2022. 

Currently, Clear has two major lines of business. Through its consumer offering, ‘BLACK’, the platform allows individuals to file income tax returns and build wealth through investment in mutual funds. It also provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to corporates helping them pay GST bills, create electronic invoices and pay bills digitally.  

It also provides its software to over a million small and medium businesses (SMBs) helping them file their GST, and allowing them to plan their taxes, while providing payment reconciliation support.  

It rolled out the ‘BLACK’ platform to customers in April this year, from private beta, and already has close to 500,000 customers utilising the platform. The company is currently in talks with private banks to offer consumer lending on the platform in 2022.  

There are more than 6 million users who use Clear’s web and app-based platform to calculate their taxes. It plans to launch invoice-based credit offering for its over 3000 enterprise customers, by next year. 

“We are excited to partner with Clear as they innovate at scale in the Indian SaaS ecosystem, enabling Enterprises and SMEs to automate their workflows around taxation, invoicing and several other adjacencies. We look forward to Clear’s journey in the Indian and global markets,” said Nitin Saigal, founder of Kora Management LP. 

Clear is looking to achieve overall profitability over the next 18 months and is aiming for a public listing by 2024.  

In June, the company announced the acquisition of Y Combinator-backed enterprise payments startup yBANQ in a cash and stock deal. With the fundraise, it will look to make four acquisitions next year to boost its credit and payments capabilities as well as to accelerate its international expansion.  

Clear looks to also scale its presence across 10,000 enterprises and 10 million customers over the next two years.

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