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An Indian Startup That Has Wooed Both Sequoia Capital And Founders Fund This startup has raised fund from the investors behind SpaceX, Spotify and Airbnb

By Ritu Kochar

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In the startup world, if Sequoia Capital invests in a new venture, you'll see raised eyebrows everywhere. Imagine the reaction when both Sequoia and the famous Founders Fund find a startup to invest in?

This lucky startup is ClearTax who recently held its pre-Series A funding round where it raised $2 million (around Rs 13.3 crore) from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel's Founders Fund Angel and Sequoia Capital.

Owned by financial technology startup Defmacro Software, ClearTax is a start-up that helps individuals and businesses file their tax returns online. With ClearTax, Founder's Fund has made their first investment in an Indian start-up through their daughter company Founders Fund Angel.

Founded in 2011 by Archit Gupta, ClearTax has been one of India's first startups that helps people e-file I-T returns by parsing the uploaded Form-16. Rising ever since its inception, ClearTax is also the first India-focused startup to be funded by the Y-Combinator. It also 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, and AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, among others.

The five year-old company will use the proceeds from the round to launch a slew of consumer-focused tax-saving products, including mutual funds and other equity-linked saving schemes. It will also be adding to its leadership team, said Archit Gupta.

"We have taken the long route, and now we are extremely excited to have some of the biggest thought leaders and investors on board as our partners," Gupta said. "We are an instrument-agnostic platform that will allow consumers to choose their rate of return and select what to have in their tax savings basket."

Winning Moves

According to Gupta, ClearTax has over 1 million consumers e-filing their tax returns, and the company is targeting to bring on board 5 million users by the end of the current fiscal, and recording transactions worth $1 billion over the same period. In the assessment year 2014-2015, ClearTax processed tax return e-filings for 300,000 individuals.

With Founders Funds backing them, ClearTax now has some of the biggest investors and mentors of the global startup sphere on board. Known for making investments in the many unicorns that we see today, founders of Founders Fund, Peter Thiel, Ken Howery and Luke Nosek, have taken some of the boldest moves in the ecosystem which have yielded positive results. Previously they had invested in leading technology companies such as Palantir, SpaceX, Airbnb, Spotify, Lyft, PandoDaily, and Nucleus.
Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.
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