Stripe has announced its second investment in India, only days after the first announced. Clear, a Bangalore-based SaaS finance provider, has received funding from one of the world’s most valuable startups, the two companies said Sunday evening. The 10-year-old Indian business, formerly known as ClearTax, has announced a $75 million Series C fundraising round. Kora Capital was the lead investor in the round. Stripe, as well as Alua Capital, Think Investments, and a number of other current investors, took part in the round, bringing the company’s total funding to over $140 million. According to a source familiar with the situation, the fresh round valued the Indian business at above $700 million.
Clear, whose early backers include Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital India, Founders Fund, and Elevation Capital, assists individuals and corporations in filing their tax returns. Individuals can get wealth management advice through it, while businesses can get support with e-invoicing and credit. According to the company, its platform used over 6 million people, over 1 million small and medium-sized businesses, and over 30,000 businesses.
Clear’s SaaS platform has expanded five times in the last 18 months, according to Archit Gupta, the company’s founder, and CEO, in an interview with TechCrunch. Clear stated it handles approximately 10% of India’s commercial bills, with a GMV of $400 billion, up from 3% in 2016.
ClearTax, Clear’s flagship product, launched at a period when e filing was not as popular in India. However, thanks to government laws, the firm found itself in a favorable position in the following years. (For example, the government made e-filing mandatory in the country five years ago.) However, in India, which has a population of 1.4 billion people, the number of people who pay taxes is still very low. (In India, just over 60 million people pay taxes.) One of the reasons Clear has expanded its products to include commercial services as well as credit and wealth management is because of this.
Kora’s founder and CIO, Nitin Saigal, said in a statement, “We are delighted to partner with Clear as they develop at scale in the Indian SaaS market, enabling companies and SMEs to automate their workflows around taxation, invoicing, and various other adjacencies.” According to Gupta, the business will use the new cash to extend its capabilities and starting to grow internationally. Clear, which already serves firms in the Middle East, aims to expand into Europe in the near future, he said.
“We’d want to extend a warm welcome to Kora, Stripe, and our other new investors.”We are delighted to learn from both of them,” he added. Kora has a lot of expertise with technology players in emerging areas, and Stripe is a worldwide technology business that provides economic infrastructure for the internet. “India is embarking on a tremendous digitisation journey, and we are lucky to be in the midst of a perfect storm of electronic invoicing, GST, UPI, low-cost mobile internet, and rapid technological adoption thanks to Covid-19.” We are doubling down on our SaaS platform to assist businesses with debt and payments that do not require collateral. This money also enables us to expand internationally.”
Stripe has yet to make a significant impact in Southeast Asia and India. Although the firm has teams in both locations, it has yet to make significant gains in either. If it chooses to enter the world’s second-largest internet market, it will face up against Razorpay, which is backed by YC and Sequoia Capital India and was recently valued at $3 billion. Y Combinator backs stripe, like Clear and Razorpay. According to insiders, Stripe has already invested in at least one additional Indian firm.