Interview with Tech Unicorn Clara
We speak with Gerry Giacomán Colyer - the Co-founder and CEO of Mexican FinTech startup and the country’s fifth unicorn Clara.
There’s been a lot of money being invested in Latin American startups. Why do you think that is?
There’s a giant sense of community among entrepreneurs in Latin America. Personally, I have been an adviser to multiple startups in the region that have raised substantial capital during the last year and was fortunate to be chosen by Picus Capital as their first partner in a new global network of venture capital partners. It’s really been a two-way street in Latin America for us with entrepreneurs such as Sebastian Mejia from Rappi investing in Clara, among other relevant entrepreneurs and unicorn founders.
Startups are born with a “tech DNA” and are solving needs of customers and companies in a very easy and affordable way by leveraging and/or creating new technology. Latin American entrepreneurs are really focused on this and combine that with that sense of community in the region, these ideas and solutions seem to be expanding off one another.
What problem is Clara solving?
Spend-management for companies. Clara is giving Latin American companies more control over their financial future by reducing the bureaucratic processes of obtaining corporate credit cards and also leveraging innovative technology to give companies affordable, agile, and digital spend management solutions.
What makes Clara attractive to investors and tech talent?
As an organisation, Clara has a ton of experience in traditional banking, which is essential to understanding our product and services. Clara’s solid business model and tech infrastructure has been attracting sought-after minds in the industry. Our Chief Marketing Officer and Chief People Officer come from Citibanamex. One of our regional directors comes from HSBC and Scotiabank. But at Clara, we also understand that the success of an organisation depends on a mix of seniority and young talent. That’s why we make sure to have a balance of experienced employees and those who are still developing their careers.
It’s not just our people that make Clara attractive, but what we offer them for joining our organisation. There’s no other Latin American startup that offers exactly what Clara does, which we call the “7 Dimensions”. We focus on our employees’ physical health, emotional health, self-development, work environment, financial health, family, and community. Aside from our customers, we want our employees to be happy and healthy in all aspects of their lives. We cannot deliver the best product without a productive team.
Clara’s solid business model and tech infrastructure has been attracting sought-after minds in the industry.
How is Clara committing to financial inclusion in Latin America?
Clara contributes to financial inclusion across Latin America through its offering of digital solutions that align enterprise growth with versatile and dependable resource management. Clara is developing tech products that are easy to use and affordable, with no annual fees or no costs upfront. Clara does more than just that for our customers, though. Clara also has a digital onboarding process where we guide our customers through the platform and how to make the most out of it. We like to ensure our customers understand our products and can use them efficiently. If a customer does have any issues, we have a solution for that, too. When Clara enters a new market, we build local customer service teams to ensure customers speak with Clara representatives who are immersed in the region and able to understand local, regional, and national business needs. Our customers don’t call another country to reach our call centre representatives. They can speak directly to Clara representatives in their region. And finally, Clara leverages our network to offer exclusive benefits to our clients through partnerships with other companies in the region that they would otherwise be unable to secure.
Who’s using your products and why did they select them?
Fast-growing startups and an increasingly important number of companies in the enterprise segment, including companies in the automotive, logistics, real estate, travel, and tech industries have chosen Clara. Clara is solving a very common pain point (spend management) for Latin American companies through digital tools that can be adapted to any ERP (enterprise segment).
What makes applying for a corporate credit card a hassle for most businesses?
Applying for a corporate credit card is tough, especially with the bureaucratic processes of traditional banks. Startups don’t have a financial or credit history and that’s why they are often denied corporate credits. Clara gets rid of that red tape and gives startups and big corporations a chance to thrive here in Latin America.
How does Clara help Latin American businesses compete in the global marketplace?
By leveraging Clara’s technological solutions and solid infrastructure, companies are able to grow, rise, and thrive. It’s imperative to match growth with good financial management to reach long-term success. With the bureaucratic processes and often year-long waits to be approved for corporate credit cards, Latin American companies need to remain competitive through agile and integrated digital products that get companies credit and spend management solutions quickly without the red tape.
Where do you see the financial services technology industry going in the future?
In a more technological way, more agile and integrated. Digital payments services and products will rise throughout the region and world.
Where’s Clara expanding next?
Clara has plans to expand into Peru, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and the rest of Latin America.