Investing | It’s All About Perseverance

portrait of Charlie Feng
Charlie Feng

ClearCo has helping companies grow

  • Earlier this year ClearCo helped two new parents who are dietitians start a business. The founders realized that there are certain supplements that can be crucial for moms, as the current ones in the market are not helpful. Coming from a dietitian background, they knew they could fix the problem and fill a gap.

  • ClearCo helps businesses with non-diluted financing options. It’s not about who you know, or the networks someone is a part of, rather if someone has a good business idea. Clearco will offer a company $100,000, and get paid back a percentage of the revenue. Both parties share the upside and downside of a company, and it does not become diluted.

  • The faster you grow, the more money you raise, the more you dilute your business idea. Instead, what Clearco does is look at the data of a company, from Shopify, Stripe, Google, Facebook, and based on that data, they see whether businesses come from a  healthy economics unit.

Charlie’s Journey with ClearCo and how it first launched

  • Charlie’s Clearco’s journey started through Venture for Canada. He was on his way to Toronto, where he met Andrew Mattel. As he says, it was luck of the draw. A couple of days after meeting Andrew, Charlie flew to San Francisco to join him and the rest was history.

  • The idea started off with wanting to help Uber drivers. However, they learned very quickly that Uber drivers only cared about tax planning, two weeks of the year. It’s a  business where the amount of revenue an Uber driver makes is not correlated to the amount of money they could receive. Which made the idea a difficult business to execute.

  • Clearco continued to figure out where they could add the most value for banking and financial infrastructure. Clearco’s mission then became about wanting to better help democratize capital, and help entrepreneurs and people who are pursuing their dreams, to not avoid pitching and fundraising six months of the year.

What is a founder market fit?

  • Founder market fit is similar to product-market fit. The idea of product-market fit is that there’s a product that services a market and that marketing needs that product.

  • The reality is, founders are the ones that create these products. Whatever the expertise of the founders is, especially at the start of a company, becomes the DNA of what the product looks like. Oftentimes, the product becomes better, as it is a resemblance of what the founders are good at.

  • For example, Airbnb has a beautiful design, and that is because the three founders are risky designers. This is something to look at when angel investing because you’ve identified that there’s a big market for a specific product, and that the founders themselves can solve a problem in the market. Which ends up being founders who have been in the workplace for a little bit longer, as they know how to sell into enterprises.