Clearco's departing CEO, Michele Romanow, in 2019. Photo by Bloomberg

CEO of SoftBank-Backed Clearco Resigns as Onetime Fintech Darling Cuts Staff

Photo: Clearco's departing CEO, Michele Romanow, in 2019. Photo by Bloomberg

The CEO of Clearco, which provides capital to e-commerce businesses in exchange for a cut of future revenue, has resigned the post, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. The departing leader, Michele Romanow, co-founded Toronto-based Clearco in 2015 and is one of Canada’s most prominent entrepreneurs. She is being replaced by Andrew Curtis, who has been a consultant to the company on raising capital, this person said.

Formerly known as Clearbanc, the startup raised $1 billion in debt and equity from Y Combinator, SoftBank Vision Fund, Silicon Valley Bank and Oak HC/FT, among others, according to PitchBook. Valued on paper at $2 billion in a 2021 funding round, Clearco became a poster child of the 2020-1 fintech boom and subsequent collapse as higher interest rates hurt online commerce firms. It generated close to $100 million in revenue in 2021 but its business growth ground to a halt since then, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Clark Miller.
Exclusive startups crypto
MoonPay CEO, Other Executives Cashed Out Before Crypto Business Dropped
In November 2021, just as crypto prices were hitting all-time highs, MoonPay—a crypto payments startup that celebrities including Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton had praised for its non-fungible token “concierge” service— announced it had completed its first ever outside fundraising: an eye-popping $555 million round at a $3.4 billion valuation from investors including Tiger Global Management and Coatue Management.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. Photo by Bloomberg
semiconductors ai
Why Nvidia Aids Cloud Rivals of AWS, Google and Microsoft
Nvidia’s business of selling chips for artificial intelligence is going gangbusters, but the company faces a looming problem.
Instacart CEO Fidji Simo. Photo by Getty.
Exclusive startups Finance
Growth Wanes at Instacart, Gopuff
Grocery upstarts Instacart and Gopuff haven’t been able to deliver two things at once this year: growth and profits.
Tim Cook. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive apple ar/vr
Apple’s Learning Curve: How Headset’s Design Caused Production Challenges
If Apple unveils its long-awaited mixed-reality headset next week as expected, it will represent the company’s riskiest gamble on a new product since the iPhone.
Art by Clark Miller, Shutterstock (4)
Opinion ar/vr
Don’t Count the Metaverse Out
The technology hype cycle would have us believe that the metaverse—so recently the darling of digital trendsetters—is on the decline, its place usurped by generative artificial intelligence.
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson. Photo by Bloomberg.
Exclusive enterprise Finance
Twilio, Set to Lose Supervoting Protection Next Month, Has Been Meeting With Activist
Activist investor Legion Partners, which owns a stake in Twilio, has met several times with the company’s board of directors and management, urging them to make changes to the board and consider divestitures, among other moves, according to people familiar with the matter.