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News Article

Clara Simplifies Expense Management

By Alfonso Núñez | Wed, 11/10/2021 - 15:11

You can watch the full presentation here.

As startup companies continue growing across the Mexican market, so does the need to provide easier payment and financing options for these companies, which is exactly what the startup Clara offers clients.

 

“Each company can obtain revenue in any way but all have to make effective use of it. And it is not only about making effective use of revenue but doing it with agility. Some believe that there is an ongoing tension between control and agility but we believe that with technology, it does not have to be this way,” said Clara co-founder Gerry Giacomán Colyer.

 

Giacomán saw the need for a company like Clara during his time at Grow Mobility, which grew at a rapid pace but ran into issues with expense management, a problem that is even worse in Latin America. Companies in the region are particularly in need of a dedicated expense management platform, which can reduce fund misappropriation by 60 percent and aid companies in the aftermath of the pandemic, said Giacomán. A recent study found that 40 percent of companies in the region did not have access to any type of financing to support business recovery.

 

“To manage expenses, companies traditionally used different options that have great limitations,” said Giacomán. These options include applying for a domestic corporate credit card, which tends to be rejected due to a lack of credit history or positive cash flows and has limited functionality; the use of a foreign corporate card, which tends to lose local tax deductibility and is only entrusted to key employees; self-financing expenses that rely on the company’s employees, which can make them anxious and lead them to waste time chasing receipts and filling forms; or the use of a prepaid card, which will not work abroad and might have limited funds. The shortcomings of these options can lead to countless hours spent closing books, a lack of real-time visibility, unchecked spending, poor planning, delays and expensed distributed across silos.

 

Clara allows startups to avoid these problems through a local solution where all the cards a company might need can be generated using a process simplified through digitalization. Clara aims to build the end-to-end spend management solution Giacomán would have loved to have during his start-up journey.

 

Clara’s flexible and endless card payments are available through three options: the world elite cards with exclusive benefits for high-profile executives, virtual cards for fine-tuned online expenses (software, e-commerce or ads) and business cards for travel and expenses for all employees. Beyond cards, Clara offers a expense-management platform with real-time expense visibility and a corporate credit card with a high acceptance rate and international coverage.

 

Clara further offers a payment (SPEI) platform to send or schedule as many payments as a company may need. The platform also allows users to use Clara credit and make payments from an Excel file, their invoices or manually.

 

“Let’s say I have a list of 100 payments and I want to program some for today, some for a week from now, some a month from now, I can do all of that in just one step through Clara’s solution,” Giacomán said.

 

Clara was built from the ground up to help local companies become more efficient, said Giacomán, and wants to be local companies’ biggest ally. It offers automatic expense and invoice matching. Furthermore, its principal member license ensures service stability, it is fully-compliant with local AML, KYC and banking laws, it offers direct debit payment from local banks and enables tax deductible expenses.

 

The adoption of Clara has been rapid due to a large demand for its services. Weekly Mexican CC and TPV transaction accounts have risen impressively, with giant leaps observed during the past three months. The startup has a clear line of sight to continued rapid growth. Its key product releases include Clara Payments and Clara Credit. Liquidity advance and a launch with MasterCard are allowing growth across region.

 

The startup secured Series A investment backed by top regional and global investors Kaszek, Monashees and DST Global, which are the founders behind most startup success stories in the region such as Rappi, Kayak and Casai.

 

“We are very happy to have their trust and to be able to support the majority of startups and companies of most-rapid growth in Mexico and the region… We started in Mexico but we have prepared from the beginning and now we are very close to announcing plans for growth in other countries. We are very happy to provide our grain of sand to help local companies become more competitive through technology and through the experiences that we create.”

Alfonso Núñez Alfonso Núñez Journalist & Industry Analyst