Clearco commits to Dublin with $164.4 million CAD earmarked for Irish startups

Clearco's Dublin hub will back the company's broader European expansion.

Clearco’s international expansion continues apace. The e-commerce investor is moving into Ireland with plans to invest $164.4 million CAD (€100 million) into digital-first Irish businesses.

As part of continued expansion plans, Clearco said that it has opened an international sales and business development hub in Dublin to help bolster and enable Clearco’s growth plans across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific in 2022. This facility currently has 75 team members, and the startup plans to add 125 employees in the future. Clearco has approximately 500 employees globally.

Clearco said that it intends to expand its products and services within its current European operations and into new key markets across the continent in 2022. Plans include expansion into Western Europe, Central Europe, and the Nordic region.

“Clearco is a great addition to the vibrant international financial services sector in Ireland.”

Currently, the company operates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, the Netherlands and, most recently, Australia, where it promised to invest up to $100 million AUD ($92 million CAD) in e-commerce, mobile apps, and SaaS businesses.

Clearco enters Ireland just as the country’s economy has picked up. A revised forecast from wealth management and capital markets firm, the Davy Group, shows the Irish gross domestic product grew by 15.5 percent in 2021. The firm noted that the multinational sectors performed especially well, particularly information-communications technology companies, and medtech manufacturing companies.

Clearco is confident that its investments in the Irish marketplace will follow the same pattern it has seen in other countries, which is funding startups outside of major tech hubs in large cities.

At Clearco UK, 70 percent of businesses it has funded are located outside of London. Similarly, in the US, Clearco has funded businesses in all 50 states, but indicated that well over half of the startup’s funding goes to businesses outside of California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts, which typically receives almost 70 percent of all US VC funding.

Clearco said, in the same manner, it hopes to be able to fund traditionally underserved communities in Ireland.

“Clearco is excited to bring our revenue-based funding model to Irish founders,” said Romanow. “Ireland has one of Europe’s strongest economies and a dynamic startup sector. We are confident that we will have a meaningful impact on the Irish ecommerce economy.”

The company noted both the local talent pool and growth in the country’s technology sector since the pandemic as decision points to expand to Ireland.

Clearco is just the most recent Canadian startup to enter Ireland. There are over 50 Canadian companies with international-focused operations in Ireland employing roughly 7,000 people, according to Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA). In the last three years, there has been a 45 percent increase in the number of Canadian companies in Ireland and a 70 percent increase in the numbers employed by these companies, said the IDA.

Notable Canadian companies, including Clio and Trulioo, have set up shop, expanded their headcount, or announced expansions in Ireland. Think Research acquired the assets of Irish-based Pharmapod in 2021.

Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, welcomed Clearco’s entrance into Ireland. “The arrival of Clearco is a great addition to the vibrant international financial services sector in Ireland and its plans to invest €100 million in digital-first Irish businesses is a significant boost to the Irish e-commerce sector,” Shanahan said.

Clearco claims to be a global leader in the revenue-based funding sector. The company’s technology combines AI and data science to offer funding in the form of non-dilutive capital for e-commerce businesses. An alternative to traditional venture capital, the company also provides inventory funding and access to a global founder community, as well as insights and valuation tools.

Clearco says it has invested more than $3.2 billion USD globally into more than 7,000 businesses across three continents.

The startup uses proprietary algorithms that are gender, race, and location-agnostic. Clearco claims it funds 25-times more women compared to traditional VC’s, and that, currently, 50 percent of the businesses in the company’s global portfolio are led by women.

Clearco has had a busy year featuring many notable executive changes including its CEO

Clearco made a lot of moves in 2021. The startup rebranded from Clearbanc and secured $100 million USD in equity financing as part of its Series C round, which saw the company gain unicorn status at an estimated valuation of close to $2 billion.

The startup partnered with Caravan to launch a new $50 million USD fund to finance celebrity-backed companies. Caravan is a venture of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), an entertainment and sports company. And less than three months after closing its Series C round, Clearco secured $215 million in equity funding led by Softbank to support its goal of becoming a global company.

The announcement followed the news in late February that Clearco’s co-founder and CEO, Andrew D’Souza, would become executive chair, while co-founder Michele Romanow, formerly Clearco’s president, was taking over as CEO.

Besides the shuffle in the executive suite, Clearco also saw CFO Curt Sigfstead leave the startup to join fellow Canadian unicorn and legaltech startup Clio as its CFO.

Sigfstead’s departure came as Clearco saw one of its five co-founders depart to start a new company. Charlie Feng helped create Clearco alongside Romanow, D’Souza, Ivan Gritsiniak, and Tanay Delima.

Gritsiniak, who had been serving as VP of finance for Clearco, has taken on the role of interim CFO as the company searches for a permanent replacement for Sigfstead.

Feature image courtesy Gregory Dalleau, Unsplash.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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