Supplier spotlight: Clearbanc

Piers Brown By Piers Brown
Uploaded 09 October 2017

SAN meets US specialist lender Clearbanc, which is supporting short-term rental landlords with bespoke finance.

• What is the background of the management team? 

"Clearbanc was founded by Andrew D'Souza and Michele Romanow. It was the first company to launch out of the Y Combinator Fellowship Program in California.  

Andrew is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and currently CEO of Clearbanc, a startup in the financial services space. He is also an advisor to Kik, Tulip Retail, CareGuide and Wealthsimple. Andrew was formerly president of Nymi, a wearable platform focused on identity and security (which raised $15 million), and the COO of Top Hat, a mobile learning platform for the classroom (which raised $22 million).  

Michele is a serial entrepreneur and Tech Titan.  She is the youngest ever entrepreneur to join CBC's hit show Dragons' Den (Canada's Shark Tank). She previously co-founded e-commerce platforms SnapSaves (acquired by Groupon) and Buytopia. Michele is ranked in WXN's '100 Most Powerful in Canada' and listed as the only Canadian on Forbes' 'Millennial on a Mission' list. She is a director on the board of Vail Resorts, Freshii and Shad Valley."

• Describe Clearbanc and the service it provides.

"Clearbanc helps entrepreneurs grow their business. We provide capital (via a Clearbanc advance) to vacation rental hosts so they can invest in renovations, new furniture or new properties.  The platform utilises end-to-end automation to remove friction and executes financing in an efficient and seamless manner."

• What is Clearbanc's USP?

"Clearbanc's technology allows us to look at different data points that traditional financial institutions tend to overlook.  Past bookings, occupancy rates, city trends, future bookings - just to name a few.  We don't fall into the same antiquated practice of checking credit scores, or analysing personal assets outside of the business.  We don't charge interest and there are no hidden fees. Clearbanc is paid back as our clients bring in business.  We work closely with our clients to find the best repayment plan for their business."

• What sectors does Clearbanc operate in?

"Rather than be a Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none, Clearbanc specialises in a few well defined industries - vacation rentals and eCommerce.  Our technical expertise paired with attentive client support have helped us grow into industry experts in those niche areas."

• Within the Airbnb and short-term rental sector, who is your ideal customer?

"On the vacation rental side of our business, we typically work with hosts who have multiple listings and have been in business for at least nine to 12 months. Our platform requires data on past and future bookings to create a unique offer for each client.  The clients we work with are typically looking for capital to invest in additional listings, renovate a current listing or update furniture and decor."

• How does it compare with other sources of lending?

"Accepting a Clearbanc advance doesn't affect your credit score.  We use your past and future sales and additional data-points to calculate the level of risk, and capital eligibility.  We also do not charge interest.  Instead Clearbanc charges a one time fee for each advance, which is paid back as you receive payment for your vacation rental bookings."

"Clearbanc only succeeds if our customer's businesses succeed.  We aim to work with our clients as a partner. By utilising end-to-end automation we are able to provide clear, simple and quick financing to our users. We have helped thousands of businesses all across the US grow their businesses."

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