SoftBank leads $215 million investment in Toronto-based Clearco to accelerate international expansion
In early April, Clearbanc, a Toronto-based firm that invests in tech startups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, rebranded to Clearco. The company also announced it raised $100M Series C funding to fuel its ambitious growth plans and making the startup a member of the highly coveted Unicorn Club.
Today, Clearco announced it has raised another $215 million round of funding led by new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2 to continue to propel the company’s growth and suite of the founder-first hub of products.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2’s participation in this new round of financing significantly contributes to the momentum and advancement of Clearco’s vision and commitment to a broad and diverse hub of growth products and services that effectively remove barriers founders traditionally face, including giving up equity in exchange for capital, inventory funding, and data that drives growth and operational efficiency.
Founded in 2015 by Andrew D’Souza, Ben Sanders, Charlie Feng, Michele Romanow, and Pavel Melnichuk, Clearco is democratizing access to growth for e-commerce businesses and has invested over $2.4B US in over 5,500 businesses with 30% of founders being BIPOC and funding being advanced to 8x more women-led businesses than traditional VC.
“Softbank’s investment during a moment where we are accelerating at breakneck speed and leading a founder’s revolution is both humbling and exciting as we continue to work towards removing archaic barriers and offer an alternative and accessible solution for founders all around the world.” said Co-Founder and President Michele Romanow. “We continue to be wholly committed to our vision of changing the trajectory of what it means to attain capital to grow your business and the full-service tools to be successful, whether that be strategic guidance, access to a powerful network of partners or valuation tools that allow founders to accelerate the growth of their business.”
Clearbanc uses proprietary underwriting technology to offer more capital at quicker speeds and more flexible terms than other financing alternatives. With proprietary algorithms that are gender-, race-, and region-agnostic, Clearco is unique in its commitment and ability to fuel entrepreneurship outside of traditional networks and regions.
While global VC funding for female founders dropped by 27% in 2020, according to Crunchbase, Clearco funded eight times as many companies headed by female founders as traditional VC firms. In that same timeframe, 13% of Clearco’s funding went to companies headed by Black and LatinX founders, compared to 2.6% for traditional VC firms; in total, a third of Clearco’s funding went to founders of color.