ClearTax Raises 12M Dollar Funding From SAIF Partners

ClearTax, a start-up that helps individuals and businesses file their tax returns online, has raised $12 million in a funding round led by SAIF Partners, the firm said on Friday.The firm, run by Defmacro Software Pvt. Ltd, in May raised $2 million from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India, and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund Angel, a seed stage venture firm. ClearTax is Founders Fund’s first investment in India. 
In April it had raised $1.3 million in angel funding from Silicon Valley-based angel investors, including PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Whatsapp’s business head Neeraj Arora, Scott Bannister and Cyan Bannister and AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, among others.Bengaluru-based ClearTax plans to use the money towards building new products and strengthening its engineering team. The company plans to hire about 150 engineers to build a strong tech presence. 
Founded in 2011, ClearTax was generating profits until late 2015 when it raised its first angel funding and decided to step up expansion plans. “We could have scaled at a slow pace but we decided to move fast, invest heavily on research and development; and make some long-term bets,” said Archit Gupta founder and chief executive at ClearTax, explaining his move to raise venture capital. 
The firm, which in 2015 saw a million users use its online portal, is eyeing close to three million users in 2016. ClearTax has partnered with 1,000 chartered accountants, helping them file tax returns, across the country. The firm gets 60% of its business from offering its services to institutions and the rest comes from directly transacting with consumers. It did not disclose its annual turnover. It works with over 300 small and medium businesses and 11 banks. 
Gupta intends to focus on expanding its presence in India for 12-18 months, however he wants to take the product global. “I can not rule out global expansion but there is still a lot to do in India,” he added. ClearTax will also be looking to tap into consumer and business taxes, tax savings and investments. It is already working towards making a product that can help in complying with GST. 
The company charges anywhere from Rs.600 to Rs.13,000 for filing taxes through its portal or mobile app. Over 1 million users e-filed their tax returns through ClearTax during the 2015-16 fiscal, the company said. “ClearTax team has demonstrated distinctive growth over last five years to build the largest tax-filing platform in India. We are very excited to partner with Archit and team as they translate their market leadership in the tax filing space to become one of the largest fin-tech platforms in India,” said Ravi Adusumalli, Managing Partner, SAIF partners.
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