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PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin Makes His First Indian Investment; Backs Fintech Startup ClearTax

PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin Makes His First Indian Investment; Backs Fintech Startup ClearTax

Fintech startup ClearTax which facilitates users to file taxes and returns online has raised $1.3 Mn (INR 8.6 Cr) in seed funding from a group of prominent Silicon Valley investors including PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and Scott Banister, an early investor in Facebook and Uber. The Bangalore-based company will use the proceeds for new product launches, expanding the size of its team, and to further build its mobile strategy.

Archit Gupta, CEO of ClearTax, “We are in the process of launching new products, catering to our SME and enterprise clientele, which will focus on invoicing and payroll. Our mobile app will be out next month as well.”

Others investors in the round included Naval Ravikant, the founder of AngelList, WhatsApp business head Neeraj Arora and Ruchi Sanghvi, VP Operations at Dropbox, Y Combinator alum Sumon Sadhu, and Flexport’s Founder & CEO Ryan Petersen. Interestingly, the investment in ClearTax is also Max Levchin’s first investment in an Indian startup. Levchin co-founded PayPal, the global online payments system, along with Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.

In an email to ET, Max Levchin stated, “ClearTax is the dominant market leader in taxes in India with a strong focus on consumers and SMEs. We strongly believe in the Indian market, where the median age is 25 and fin-tech products on the mobile will see deep adoption.”

Founded in 2011 by Archit Gupta, his father Raja Ram Gupta, Srivatsan Chari, and Ankit Solanki, ClearTax, claims to have more than 1 Mn consumers, 10,000 chartered accountancy firms, and 5,000 small & medium enterprises as clients. The startup provides a full range of services to clients, from helping them file their tax returns, incorporating companies and undertaking service tax registrations, among others.

Co-incidentally, it is also one of the few Indian startups backed by the US-based startup accelerator Y Combinator. It raised $120K in seed funding from Y Combinator in July 2014. The startup has also been backed by One97 Communications, the parent company of mobile digital payments and ecommerce platform Paytm, last October.

This month, the startup also brought in three senior Flipkart executives on board. The company confirmed that Prasanth Nair, former director at Flipkart, has joined ClearTax as vice president-engineering, along with Jai Santosh, who led Flipkart Lite team, and Aakash Bapna, an engineer at Flipkart is joining too.

In January this year, ClearTax partnered with Union Bank of India (UBI) to offer free and seamless tax filing to UBI employees and customers, while other tax-related services will also be made available at discounted prices. This was preceded by the launch of the TaxCloud mobile application for CA firms in last November.

Other major players in the tax-filing space include Quicko and Taxsmile, among roughly 15 other service providers for e-filing including Income Tax department portals.

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