New York – February 5th, 2020 – Clear, a technology company that builds blockchain-based settlement and clearing networks for global industries and B2B commerce, has raised $13M in Series A funding.
The round was led by the Fintech Strategic Investments group at Eight Roads, the proprietary investment firm backed by Fidelity, alongside Telefónica Innovation Ventures, Telekom Innovation Pool of Deutsche Telekom, HKT, and Singtel Innov8.
B2B transactions account for $150 trillion of annual global trade, earning banks over $140 billion in costly transaction fees. Additionally, the overhead cost for businesses to reconcile data, settle contracts and process invoices far exceed the transaction fees alone and amount to trillions of dollars of expenses to companies, hindering innovation.
In response, Clear has created a platform operating on blockchain technologies, to help enterprises automate contracts and data management, while guaranteeing control, security and privacy in networks with multiple partners. This shared environment also provides automatic payments and clearing, reducing transaction fees, long payment cycles and managing fraud prevention. Clear was founded in 2018 by Eran Haggiag and Gal Hochberg, entrepreneurs united by their passion for technology, to facilitate frictionless B2B commerce that allows enterprises to realize more value from their partnerships.
The 30-person Clear team has implemented several successful trials in the telecommunications industry, moving tens of millions of dollars for companies like BT, Colt, Deutsche Telekom, PCCW Global, Telefónica, Telstra, TATA, Orange, and many more. The trials showcased several implementations of multi-tier smart contracts, be they frictionless contracting for roaming charges, disputes around call detail records, fraud prevention, wholesale minute sales between telco and mobile providers and more.
Clear will use this latest round of funding to scale its operations, grow its team, enhance adoption in the telecom space and also look into implementations in other industries including financial services, media, advertising, energy and healthcare.
Eran Haggiag, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Clear, said: “Contract management, settlements and payments between enterprises create an unbelievable amount of friction. We are proud to have such amazing investors to create a truly frictionless new B2B financial operating system.”
Head of Fintech Strategic Investments at Eight Roads, Alokik Advani, who will join Clear’s board, added: “The Clear team has deep technological and operational expertise with the talent and ambition to disrupt global B2B trade. Clear has defined the niche in which its technology will provide the greatest value add. We are excited about this partnership and supporting Clear as it brings its unique blockchain technologies to different sectors and markets.”
Guenia Gawendo, Chief Innovation Officer at Telefónica, said: “Blockchain adds a trust layer to our operations. Thanks to Clear technology we can significantly decrease friction in the processes of financial settlement between carriers and operators, starting with the international voice services but considering to extend the impact to other core services. Our investment in Clear, through our Telefónica Innovation Ventures vehicle, enables to closely work with the industry on improving efficiencies in the financial operations with the rest of the players in the telco business, reinforcing the existing collaboration with DT and other operators through Go Ignite Alliance and showcasing the value of the Telefónica Open Innovation strategy”
Susanna Hui, Group Managing Director of HKT: “By enabling shared programmable contract layers, enterprises can now push boundaries and allow faster innovation and faster go-to-market of products and business models. For Telcos, this will prove immensely important as new 5G and network slicing abilities enable a variety of new tailor-made services to enterprises and in cooperation with OTTs.”
Federico Homberg, Head of Roaming Business Development & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier: “We are very excited about Deutsche Telekom’s investment in Clear, a leading specialist in new billing and settlement systems. Inter-Carrier billing and settlement is complex and often has manual steps. Complexity in the inter-carrier world is increasing with the advent of new communications technologies such as NB-IoT, LTE-M, VoLTE. Smart Contracts and distributed ledger technology will simplify and automate billing as well as settlement and flexibly support new kinds of communications needed by our customers.”
About Clear: Clear was founded in early 2018 by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs to remove friction in complex B2B trade. Clear has created a business environment where true data confidentiality is achieved, allowing smart B2B contracts to be created and executed automatically, thus enhancing industry efficiency and driving new revenue opportunities across global industries.
About Eight Roads Fintech Strategic Investments: Eight Roads Fintech Strategic Investments is a new team, established to build and invest in fintech businesses and technologies with strategic adjacencies to Fidelity International. The team backed Moneybox, a savings and investment platform in the UK, and Kuvera, the Indian digital investment advisor. Eight Roads is a proprietary investment firm, backed by Fidelity. Eightroads.com
About Telekom Innovation Pool: TIP is the strategic investment vehicle of Deutsche Telekom. TIP is advised by DTCP, an investment management group with approx. $1.7 billion in assets under management and advisory and a portfolio of over 60 companies. The group provides venture and growth capital, private equity and advisory services to the technology, media and telecommunication sectors. It operates and invests in Europe, the US and Israel. To learn more about DTCP, visit www.telekom-capital.com.
About Telefónica Innovation Ventures: Telefónica Innovation Ventures (TIV) is Telefónica’s corporate venture vehicle to invest and build strategic partners aligned with Telefónica’s global strategy. TIV invests directly in tech startups, or through a network of leading venture capital funds in which TIV participate as a limited partner in key markets for Telefónica. Currently, TIV’s portfolio is formed of 10 startups invested directly and more than 80 startups invested through 9 venture capital funds. TIV has offices in Silicon Valley and Madrid, with an investment scope focused on Europe, US, Israel and LATAM.
About HKT: HKT is Hong Kong’s premier ICT (Information and Communications Technology) service provider. It meets the needs of the Hong Kong public and local and international businesses with a wide range of services including local telephony, local data and broadband, international telecommunications, mobile, enterprise solutions, and other telecommunications businesses such as customer premises equipment sale, outsourcing, consulting, and contact centers.
About Singtel Innov8: Singtel Innov8, the venture capital arm of the Singtel Group, invests in and partners with innovative technology start-ups globally. It has a fund size of US$250 million and its own set of decision making, approval and investment processes. Beyond funding, Singtel Innov8 is a gateway for start-ups to leverage the resources, expertise and customers of the Singtel Group, while enabling the Group to gain access to insights and emerging technologies through the global innovation and start-up ecosystems. Singtel Innov8 focuses its investments on technologies and solutions to support Singtel Group’s strategy. Headquartered in Singapore, Singtel Innov8 also has offices in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Beijing and presence in Sydney.