Toronto-based Clearco Softbank, a fintech capital provider of online companies, has raised $215 million in one round led by Vision Fund II. The financing event closed a few weeks after Clearco completed its most recent funding, a $100 million round that raised its valuation to $2 million. Although the rapid-fire trend, follow-on financing for beginners is well known these days, Softbank’s involvement is significant for a meta-reason: a Japanese conglomerate that was once known for its flashy VC checks kept millions of dollars, allows founders to completely avoid venture capital.
And while co-founders Michelle Romano and Andrew D’Souza admit that the two companies are at odds with the spectrum, they also feel that the existing presence between the two companies caused a closed deal. “They had to rethink how their business venture capital was raised,” Deusuza said. “They saw what we were doing at the other end of the spectrum that thousands of entrepreneurs had to use technology and that really resonated.” Two years ago, Clearbank launched Clearco’s “20 Minute Term Sheet”, a platform that allows e-commerce companies to increase their non-smooth marketing growth capital from $10,000 to $10 million based on their earnings and advertising spending. The founder is quick to capitalize on the data, and to date, Clearco has invested more than $2.5 billion in more than 5,500 companies. In the last few years, Cleaco’s message has changed. Pierre de Souza, fast, affordable, and “neutral” capital is still a big reason for people to come to the company, but they now focus on “how to provide personalized advice and the technical challenge of getting help from an engaged investor”, board members, Advisors, but on the scale of thousands and millions.
Product maps have followed this power. Last year, Clearco Saas launched ClearReal to help founders secure non-dual capital with a revenue-sharing agreement, a valuable tool, inventory buybacks, and an alternative financing platform for miners with minimal revenue. Today’s money will help Europe, Canada, and the United States move beyond Clearco to new geographies. M&A will be part of its international strategy as copying is created in emerging markets. Clearco has evolved from anti-VC equipment to a founding and capital services platform, but its opinionated international power makes it a good deal for Softbank.