Clearco expands to Germany while cutting staff in Ireland

Clearco and IDA leaders alongside Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (second from right).
The cuts come three months after Clearco promised to hire 125 people in Ireland.

As Clearco expands to a new EU market, the company has made personnel cuts to another EU hub.

Clearco marked its official expansion to Germany last week, promising to invest €500 million into the country’s digital business. At the same time, the company made layoffs to its Ireland team — just three months after entering that market and announcing plans to hire 125 employees.

Clearco’s spokesperson told BetaKit that the company has not made staff cuts in any other countries or regions.

Irish media outlet Independent.ie was first to report last week that Clearco had cut around 10 percent of its Dublin staff. A Clearco spokesperson confirmed cuts had been made to BetaKit, but claimed they were less than 10 percent of its overall Dublin headcount. The spokesperson did not confirm the exact number of employees cut; at the time of its expansion announcement, Clearco employed a team of 75 in Dublin.

The spokesperson attributed the decision to a “fundamentally” changing global landscape. “The strong macroeconomic headwinds caused by rising inflation, supply chain shortages and the impact of the war in Ukraine is affecting all businesses,” they said.

“Like any responsible company we are constantly recalibrating our resourcing to ensure we are best suited to support our founders and our people.”

Clearco’s spokesperson told BetaKit that the company has not made staff cuts in any other countries or regions, and noted it still plans to hire more staff in Dublin later this year.

Clearco entered Ireland in March with plans to invest $164.4 million CAD (€100 million) into digital-first Irish businesses. The company touted plans to use its Dublin office as an international sales and business development hub for its broader Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific plans.

Clearco also announced plans to add another 125 employees in Dublin. At that time, Clearco had approximately 500 employees globally.

The expansions into Ireland and Germany are part of a broader global push by Clearco that began in earnest last year after the company secured $268 million CAD led by SoftBank. Clearco brought on Ruma Bose last June to lead its international growth strategy.

Clearco launched in Ireland just as the country’s economy had picked up. A forecast from wealth management and capital markets firm the Davy Group showed the Irish gross domestic product had grown by 15.5 percent in 2021. More recently, that growth has shown signs of slowing in relation to broader market conditions.

RELATED: Michele Romanow becomes Clearco CEO as Andrew D’Souza moves to Executive Chair

Clearco is among a slew of companies that are feeling the tailwinds of the changing market. In Canada, public companies Thinkific and Legible have made staff cuts this year, as has embedded commerce startup Bonsai. The layoffs are happening on a global scale, with big names like Bolt, PayPal, and Gemini making significant cuts. Other companies, like Uber, Amazon, Meta, and Wealthsimple have slowed or frozen hiring plans. Clearco’s spokesperson confirmed to BetaKit that the company is not currently on a hiring freeze.

With its launch to Germany, Clearco is now officially available in seven regions globally. In addition to Germany and Ireland, Clearco has a presence in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

Clearco brought on entrepreneur and tech executive Mariam Koorang in March as its country manager in Germany. Koorang’s LinkedIn notes that she is also the general manager for the DACH region (Deutschland, Austria, and Confœderatio Helvetica/Swiss Confederation). Clearco did not lay out any hiring targets for its German team. The €500 million for the country is being pulled from Clearco’s existing pool of debt capital, according to its spokesperson.

Clearco’s interest in Germany relates to the country’s booming e-commerce industry, which is considered among the top five or six e-commerce markets globally, projecting revenue of $141.2 billion USD for this year. According to EY’s Startup Barometer, investments in German startups, specifically, are booming: the country’s startups received a collective €17.4 billion in 2021, an increase of 229 percent from the prior year.

“We are bullish on the largest economy in the Eurozone,” said Clearco co-founder Michele Romanow, who took over as CEO in February from fellow co-founder Andrew D’Souza.

“Germany has one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies and a dynamic start-up sector,” Romanow added. “We are confident that we will have a meaningful impact on the German ecommerce economy and allow founders to grow and scale quickly without giving up their hard-earned equity.”

Across its geographical markets, Clearco claims that it has advanced more than $3.2 billion USD into more than 7,000 businesses.

Image source Clearco/PR Newswire.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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