Clearco, one of the most prolific funders of emerging fashion, beauty and other brands is entering Australia with an AU$100 million e-commerce funding available.
- New investing model uses AI to offer funding that is age, gender, race, and region agnostic
- Australian start-ups Beard Market, Vegan Grocery market and Jolyn Swimwear first to benefit from new funding model
Australian businesses Beard Market, Vegan Grocery Store and Jolyn are amongst the first to receive a financial lifeline with the announcement that the world’s largest e-commerce investor, Clearco has launched in Australia with at least AU$100 million to invest in digital-first Australian businesses.
Using AI technology that literally ‘changes the face’ of investment by preventing discrimination and bias based on the age, gender, race, or location of the applicant, Clearco is revolutionising the way Aussie founders grow their businesses. If you have monthly revenue of around AU $10,000, you can apply to Clearco and get access capital within 24-48 hours. Clearco does not take equity and charges a flat fee in the form of a portion of future revenues.
One of the first Australian digital-first businesses to be supported by Clearco is Beard Market, a one-stop shop marketplace for all men’s grooming and hair care products. The company took its first advance from Clearco in May 2021 which resulted in the growth of a 200% increase in revenue.
Beard Market founder Onur Cam commented “Clearco has more advantages for my business than any other financial institution can offer. The top-ups and percentage of remittance of daily sales is low, which is my priority for the business. Financial institutions I have used in the past have taken up to 30% of daily sales, while Clearco only takes 15%. Clearco is a fiercely competitive option and the most profitable for my business. It is my first and only choice for financing.”
With continuing lockdowns around Australia, Aussies’ online spending has grown exponentially and their interest in new Direct-to-Consumer brands such as Beard Market is booming. Yet for businesses headed by females, founders of colour or regional entrepreneurs the challenges in securing funding are high. By contrast, in 2020, Clearco funded eight times as many companies headed by female founders and five times the amount of funding to companies headed by founders of colour, compared to traditional VC firms.
Dan Peters, newly appointed Clearco Australia Managing Director said “Our goal is to support a thriving start-up ecosystem for Australia and drive smarter and more diverse capital into Australian eCommerce businesses. We want to see businesses grow and flourish and drive innovation in the Australian economy.”
Clearco recently secured $215 million in new funding round from Softbank and has already raised $100M in Series C to reach unicorn status.
Australian Founder Stories
- The Vegan Grocery Store, a one stop shop for vegan groceries and specialty products with the largest selection of vegan foods in Australia, has experienced a 37% increase in online revenue growth since taking its first advance from Clearco in June this year. Jessica Baily, the founder, commented: “Normally when you get finance through banks, you have to fill out tons of paper, and they make you feel like you’re having to grovel and beg. It’s a horrible experience.”
- Jolyn, a swimwear brand specifically designed for female athletes, has seen a 21% increase in monthly revenue growth in the three months since they took Clearco capital to expand their inventory. Jolyn Director Trent Goulding said “Traditional capital raising is time consuming and a lot of effort starting with scratch every time you talk with a new bank. Clearco is tech-savvy and looks logically at our turnover and data, streamlining the whole process.”
- Zookal is an online educational technology platform that helps make education more accessible to students. They sell textbooks online as well as offer services such as homework help, test prep, and a solutions library. The company took its first capital advance in July 2021 to support its launch into Singapore and Philippines which gained them 10,000 daily users in two weeks. Co-founders Ahmed Haider and Manuel Silva said “We have two peak periods in the year where our marketing expenses and inventory double or even quadruple. In August, rather than paying $1.5 million to our suppliers and having to forego that capital in the same month, Clearco gave us the chance to extend that inventory payment 8 months on average, which extends our runway a lot. In terms of marketing, we’ve moved away from using credit cards .”