Clear is a cryptocurrency wallet and exchange aiming to streamline the digital asset management experience for investors. It provides users with tools to spend, buy, sell, and manage their crypto holdings from a single platform.
Recently, the company has gained some major backing from Stripe and Kora Network, two of the top firms in the technology industry. This article will explore how these two major companies invested in Clear and why they backed this booming startup.
Background on Stripe and Kora
Stripe and Kora were two of the main investors in Clear’s $75-million funding round. As such, it is important to look at both of these companies and understand why they chose to invest in Clear.
In this article, we will look at the background, innovations and characteristics of both Stripe and Kora to better understand their investments in Clear.
Stripe is a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. Since its launch in 2011, Stripe has been on a mission to increase the GDP of the internet. By providing developers and businesses with the tools they need to accept payments and manage their businesses online, Stripe helps businesses of all sizes grow quickly and securely.
Stripe works with some of the world’s best-known companies such as Amazon, Uber and Shopify. The company processes billions of dollars annually for its customers across hundreds of currencies and over 100 countries worldwide.
In 2017, Stripe invested in Clear, an identity-verification startup that uses AI-based authentication systems to help businesses verify people quickly and accurately to reduce fraud and increase customer satisfaction. The Stripe investment was part of a larger round led by Khosla Ventures where retailers like Sunsuper used Clear’s technology to streamline their end-to-end customer onboarding process.
Kora is a technology and growth capital venture fund established by Vinod Khosla and Mary Meeker in 2020. Kora’s investments target early-stage companies developing innovation across digital health, consumer mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) technology, data security and artificial intelligence (AI).
Kora is dedicated to helping pioneering entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level. To this end, Kora provides both capital investment and hands-on leadership guidance. In addition, as part of their commitment to success, Kora works closely with management teams to develop the customized strategies that promote growth.
In addition to investing in Clear, Kora has invested in numerous other start-ups across various industries. These include Field Trip Health for mental wellness, Payfare for payroll solutions, Backbone for financial technologies, Dataminr for real-time social media insights and Helium for low-cost IoT networks.
Clear’s Funding Round
Clear, a digital banking startup, recently closed a $75-million funding round led by Stripe and Kora. This comes after Clear has seen a rapid customer growth and a need for more capital to meet those demands. This investment round is an important milestone for Clear, as two of the biggest financial players in the market have shown confidence in the product.
Let’s take a look at what this means for Clear.
Overview of Clear’s $75-million funding round
Initially launched in 2016, Clear is a mobile payments business focused on making payments easy, fast and secure for small businesses in Southeast Asia. In early April 2020, Clear announced its Series A funding round that totaled US$75 million. This investment was led by Stripe and Kora Network, with participation from other investors including Insignia Ventures, Ascend Capital, Openspace Ventures and App Works.
The funds will help Clear achieve two primary goals: to expand its operations in the region by launching new services such as micro-lending and merchant credit scoring; and to develop new product capabilities such as international payments to support the growth of its existing customers. It will also invest heavily in data science to continue providing customers with personalized experience through real-time insights into their sales activities.
Despite the current global economic uncertainties due to COVID-19 pandemic, Clear’s latest funding gives the company increased access to financial resources which will ultimately help promote financial inclusion among underserved small businesses throughout Southeast Asia.
Clear, a mobile payments startup, recently announced its seed-stage funding round, led by Stripe, Kora Ventures and several angel investors. The company raised an undisclosed seven-figure capital to scale their platform and launch in new markets.
Stripe have invested in technology companies that can realize large global markets, such as Clear. By investing and partnering with Clear on the payment front, Stripe will be able to leverage Clear’s payment capabilities while at the same time broadening their customer interactions.
Kora Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco that contributed the lion’s share of the company’s fund raise. Kora sees potential for Clear to become a major player and help shape the narrative for digital payments globally, particularly in high growth markets such as Asia Pacific and India. Kora has a track record of investing in promising startups such as Interval Labs (Interval).
The angel investors included several notable names from Silicon Valley’s tech ecosystem including Bret Taylor (ex-Facebook CTO), Mike Abbott (ex-Twitter VP Engineering), Paul Sciarra (cofounder of Pinterest), Pascal Levy Hara (ex-Spotify Growth Catalyst), Akshay Kothari (ex-Linkedin India Country head) and many more who believe in the vision of Clear.
Combined resources will give Clear all the necessary tools to create immense value for financial products and global commerce mechanisms through effective communication with customers and powerful analytics capabilities while protecting user data and identity security at every stage. With its customer centric approach and initiatives like eKYC clearance during its onboarding process, this team is set up to aid collaboration between RegTechs & FinTechs where it could make payments easier than ever before while also making sure user data remains safe & secure even while they scale globally across markets in Europe, APAC & India respectively.
Stripe, Kora lead investors in Clear’s $75-million funding round
Stripe and Kora have recently invested in Clear, a mobile banking start-up, in a $75-million funding round. As investors, Stripe and Kora have taken a risk by coming to invest in such an early stage start-up.
But what were the reasons behind their decision to invest? First, let’s examine the reasons that may have prompted them to invest in Clear.
In early 2020, Stripe Ventures, the investment arm of Stripe Inc., announced that it had invested in Clear – the new financial technology platform. This investment marked Stripe’s first entry into the digital banking arena.
Stripe is a global payments platform that helps businesses and organizations accept customer card payments across multiple channels, including web and mobile. Through its investment in Clear, Stripe can provide customers access to a simple, user-friendly mobile app for managing their finances. By offering an easy-to-use app for customers to manage their finances at a fraction of the cost of traditional banking options, Stripe is expanding its reach into financial services and helping drive the adoption of new technology in this sector.
The collaboration between Clear and Stripe also gives businesses access to powerful services that can help streamline how they process customer payments so they can focus on growing their business instead of worrying about managing complex payment infrastructure. Furthermore, since Clear is built on top of a secure cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) Secure Access Security System (SASSS), businesses can access scalable solutions backed by strong security protocols. By investing in innovative technology like this, Stripe can offer an efficient solution for customers who want to manage their finances securely without worrying about potential vulnerabilities in traditional banking systems.
Kora, an early-stage venture capital (VC) firm, led Clear’s Series A round with a $2.5 million investment. In 2015, Kora was founded by Chris Kelmi and Andrew Greenbaum who had the vision to invest in startups that are redefining the world with innovative solutions and solutions-driven products.
Kora has a history of investing in high growth tech companies and they have backed many successful startups such as Coinbase, Stitch Fix and Nutanix to name just a few. Their mission is to identify mission-driven founders at the earliest stages of product development and provide financial resources and operational guidance to help launch their business ideas.
In the case of Clear, they made their investment primarily due to their confidence in CEO Joe Bayen’s vision for the company’s future growth. They were also impressed by how Clear has leveraged technology (AI & machine learning) for fraud detection and its ability to scale quickly into new markets. Furthermore, Kora saw potential for Clear’s products in other industries that can benefit from its anti-fraud technology such as banking & financial services or government agencies.