Mexico’s payment fintech Clara is moving its headquarters to Brazil, a move driven by its recent acquisition of a central bank license to operate as a payment institution. This shift is expected to catalyse the firm’s expansion efforts, with Brazil positioned to become its premier market by the upcoming year.
The Mexican fintech provides corporate cards and expense management software for businesses across Latin America. It reports monthly transactions in Brazil of 100 million reais, or close to $20 million.
The fintech ventured into Latin America’s largest market in late 2021. Since then, it has been actively working towards expanding its presence in the region, alongside its operations in Colombia. Recently, the fintech made headlines when it hired a former Meta and Uber manager as head of its Brazilian operations. Its goal is to roll out new products as well as acquire more large-scale corporate customers.
“Our goal is to consolidate Brazil as our main market by 2024,” Gerry Giacomán, CEO of Clara, told Fintech Nexus. The company aims to reach 2 billion Brazilian reais in corporate credit purchases next year, or close to $400 million. This would mean twice its actual volume.
Pix increasingly attractive to non-Brazilian companies
Brazil’s impressive strides in regulatory advancement have not escaped notice. The post-pandemic era witnessed a digital payments revolution sparked by Pix, the central bank’s instant payment system that has become ubiquitous across the nation. This significant leap in online transactions has captivated not only local players but also international companies, igniting fierce competition to claim a share of Latin America’s largest economy and its burgeoning market.
“In addition to being a sizeable economy, Brazil has a more mature financial and digital ecosystem,” said Giacomán. ¨Unique products such as Pix or express wire transfers (TEDs) represent a great opportunity for our payment solutions,” he says.
Securing this central bank license equips Clara with the means to expand its presence in Brazil. The company’s aspirations extend beyond its corporate credit cards, as it aims to unveil novel products. The fintech’s objective revolves around amalgamating Brazil’s most widely used payment methods into a single platform. Giacomán affirmed their intent, stating, “We are in the process of developing features that will enable users to effortlessly generate bank tickets and execute PIX transfers directly via a Clara account.”
A fintech unicorn
Clara has over 10,000 customers in Latin America, 2,000 of which are based in Brazil. These reportedly include Starbucks and gym chain Smartfit.
Earlier this year, the firm secured a $60 million investment in a Series B round led by GGV Capital. It had previously tapped $90 million in debt from Accial Capital. In late 2021, The fintech became a unicorn by the end of 2021.
Giacoman emphasized that despite the headquarters move, Clara will continue normal operations in Mexico and Colombia. Recently, it announced a new feature for its Mexican customers. It now enables companies to make international transactions and benefit from upcoming trends such as nearshoring.