Clara, the Mexican corporate expense management unicorn in Latin America, today announced the closing of a US$60 million investment round led by GGV Capital, which has also invested in Mexican credit card unicorn Stori. It also announced that Hans Tung, Managing Partner of GGV, has joined as a member of the startup’s Board of Directors. 

The capital received will be used to boost the technological development of the digital payments and expense management platform, in addition to consolidating its market leadership in the region in a challenging environment for startups around the world due to the 54% drop in venture capital investments, according to data from CB Insights.

Other new partners participating in the round include Acrew Capital, Citius, Citi Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, Ethos, Commerce Ventures, Goanna Capital, Bayhouse Capital, Fluent Ventures, and LAGO Innovation Fund. Also joining the round are Clara’s existing investors, including Monashees, Coatue, Picus Capital, DST Global Partners, Alter Global, General Catalyst, and more than a dozen angel investors.

Clara, which reached unicorn status just eight months after its founding in 2021, has been among the startups that have defied the adverse environment due to a recent lack of venture capital investment. 

In August 2022, Clara disclosed that it obtained a credit line from Goldman Sachs for US$150 million in a year in which Latin startups turned to this type of financing due to the caution of venture capitalists due to high-interest rates. 

The investment was intended to double its presence in Mexico, said Gerry Giacomán Colyer, CEO and co-founder of Clara. In Mexico and other important markets for Clara, such as Colombia and Brazil, the fintech competes directly with the unicorn Jeeves. 

Clara received this mega capital round at a time when, specifically in Mexico, the amount of venture capital investments fell 60.83% in the first three months of 2023, to US$154 million, based on the Transactional Track Record (TTR) analysis platform.

Clara strengthens its team

On the arrival of Hans Tung, Managing Partner of GGV, to Clara’s Board of Directors, Giacomán said in a statement, “Hans, in particular, has been an ally to some of the greatest business successes of our generation. We have not passed up the opportunity to welcome him to our Board.”

As of late 2022, the Mexican fintech unicorn is strengthening its risk-focused finance team by hiring former American Express and CitiBank executives. Now it is also deepening its leadership with the hiring of new leaders in the areas of engineering, product, and risk. 

Among the new hires in senior positions are Raquel Hernandez, former engineering manager at Meta, who has been named VP of engineering; Eduardo Moore, formerly at Bitso and Nubank, who has joined as director of product for Clara Brazil; Alberto Ramos and Nicolas Caccaviello, who have been named director of operations and revenue and director of fraud and acceptance, respectively.

“The Clara team is one of the strongest we have seen consolidate in Latin America,” mentioned Hans Tung, Managing Partner of GGV Capital. 

With more than two years of operations in Latin American markets, Clara has secured US$160 million in equity financing and reports more than US$5 million in credit card transactions, equivalent to US$1 billion at an annualized rate. 

Today the startup reports that it works with around 10,000 companies in Latin America, which use Clara’s suite of products to automate and simplify their daily operations.