Clear(Tax) is planning for major acquisitions as it looks to 'leapfrog' its growth
- Clear, formerly known as ClearTax, is planning to hire across verticals like tech, product and marketing.
- The company is reportedly in talks with Tiger Global to raise $100 million, at a valuation of $800 million.
- The company claims to facilitate 10% of India’s B2B invoices, with a trade value of $300 billion, annually.
AdvertisementFintech software-as-a-service (SaaS) company Clear, formerly known as ClearTax, has been going aggressive about its growth plans since the start of 2021. It started with the rebranding, to launching of new products, to the recent acquisition of yBANQ.
But this plan does not end here. In order to accelerate growth and become a full stack financial services provider, Clear would be focusing on two core strategies — hiring and acquisition.
The company plans to hire more than 100 employees across verticals to aid its organic growth, the company’s cofounder Srivatsan Chari told Business Insider in an exclusive interaction. The hiring would range across leadership roles, mid-senior positions to junior roles.
According to the company’s website, there are vacancies in marketing, finance, sales, human resources, engineering, design, product, strategy, category, support and legal roles.
Earlier in January, Clear on-boarded former MedLife executive Paranth Thiruvengadam as chief technology officer (CTO) of the company. Since then, the company has made several changes across product and technology teams.
Key changes at Clear in the last six months:
|Akhil Bansal||Director, Product|
|Naveen Kumar Jain||Director of Engineering|
|Pranesh Vittal||Director of Engineering|
|Vinish Varghese||Director, Design|
|Ankit Saxena||Head of Operations|
|Amit Gupta||National Sales Head, Enterprise|
|Sandeep Singh||Senior Director of Product|
|Esha Savla||Director, Customer Experience|
|Ankur Agrawal||Director, Strategy|
|Mayank Parihar||Director, Business Finance|
On the acquisition side of the plan, it has already acquired Y Combinator-backed business-to-business (B2B) payments startup yBANQ to enter the B2B payments and credit market. There is more to come in the near future.
Chari told Business Insider that they are currently building several products, particularly for small and medium enterprises (SME) domain and enterprises, in-house. However, they will be relying on acquisitions to enter more niches and segments.
“There are capabilities or certain industries, like payments, where you want a lot of experience or technologies. So that's basically where acquisitions come in, so it is going to be a multi-pronged strategy. We are going to build and we will be acquiring also to just leapfrog our growth.” — Clear cofounder Srivatsan Chari told Business Insider in an exclusive interaction.
AdvertisementClear’s product journey from e-filling to full stack payments system
Clear was founded by Archit Gupta, Ankit Solanki and Srivatsan Chari in 2011 as ClearTax. The company started its journey as a fintech startup that offers solutions for income tax filing online. The company witnessed its first surge in 2016, when the Indian government made e-filing mandatory.
This was also the year the Indian government introduced the Goods and Service Tax (GST) that came into force on July 1 of 2017. Clear made the decision to expand their business offering, by providing tax-filing services to enterprises. The company offers solutions, including GST and e-filing bill software, along with business incorporation and compliance services for enterprises.
It had also launched a wealth management platform for tax saving and mutual funds in January 2020.
The Bengluru-based startup, across its verticals, caters to four groups — consumer, small medium business (SMB), enterprises and tax experts such as chartered accountants (CA) or accountants.
Advertisement"We have evolved from income tax compliance to full-stack compliance, invoicing, and financial serices firm. We cater to not only individual taxpayers, but also businesses, tax experts, and accountants. Today, we process about 10% of India's B2B invoices, over $300 billion of trade value every year, and contribute to 10% of India's e-invoice generation," Clear founder and chief executive (CEO) Archit Gupta told news agency PTI in a previous conversation.
Upcoming fundraise still on the table
The company currently has a customer base of 5 million Indian taxpayers, over one lakh tax practitioners, six lakh small businesses and 2,000 large businesses as well as brands.
|2016||$1.3 million||Max Levchin, Scott Banister|
|2016||$2 million||Founders Fund, Sequoia Capital|
|2016||$12 million||Elevation Capital|
|2018||$50 million||Composite Capital Management|
The company has raised $65 million of equity funding from marquee investors like PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Max Levchin, Composite Capital, Sequoia Capital, and SAIF Partners. It was the first Indian startup to have raised funding from Y Combinator.
Clear is now said to be in talks with Tiger Global to raise a $100 million funding round, at a valuation of $750 million-$800 million. The company’s co-founder Chari referred to these reports as media speculations, however, he also added that the company is in talks with certain undisclosed investors. Chari did not share any more information on the potential fundraising or valuation.
Advertisement"Conversation with people happen, but we don't have any news to share at this point," Chari told Business Insider.
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