Michele Romanow from Canadian Dragons’ Den Talks To Us About Her Latest Investment Venture: Clearbanc

Clearbanc is the largest eCommerce investor in the world. We launched in the UK in October, and we’ll invest £500m growth capital in British startups. To date, we’ve invested £30m in over 250 UK startups across the country during our beta.

We pioneered a new alternative for funding by leveraging data and machine learning technology, giving UK startups access to a fast and fair alternative to venture capital through revenue-share agreements. Founders simply connect their revenue and marketing accounts with Clearbanc’s APIs and get funding offers from £10,000 to £10million in only 20 minutes. We’ve already invested more than $1B into 3,300+ startups globally, and this is our first launch outside of North America.
Growth Capital For Online Businesses | Clearbanc

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I’ve been a Dragon on Canadian Dragons’ Den for 6 seasons now, and I kept seeing all these entrepreneurs give away huge portions (30-50%) of their company to fund repeatable growth like paying for ads on Facebook and Instagram. That’s a bad deal for startups. Founders shouldn’t be giving up equity, the most expensive way to fund things that are repeatable. So we created something new.

Clearbanc offers a fundraising alternative. For fast-growing businesses with positive unit economics, we offer funding in exchange for a revenue share of a company’s earnings until it’s paid back. We’re able to back companies in a matter of days versus months or years through traditional venture capital or banks. By using data to make funding decisions, we’ve backed eight times more women than the venture capital industry average. We’re here to help millions of people with great ideas that didn’t go to the “right” schools or have the “right” connections to the VC world.


What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

The best advice I can give to any female entrepreneur is to start now. There is never a perfect time to start. If you have an idea that you’re passionate about, you should start testing it in your free time to see if it works. If you can’t find the time, is it really something you want to pursue? Don’t use your day job as an excuse. People are always saying “I’m planning and I’m researching …” when in reality, the window of opportunity always closes, especially with small startups.

Another key advice for women is to separate the problems in society from their business. The only thing you can control is your mindset. As a female founder, if you get a “no” or “not right now”, dust yourself off and pitch more. When I started at 21, I wasn’t sure why I was getting rejected. Was it because I’m a woman? Too young? Or that I didn’t know what I was talking about?

All of those things were true! I didn’t spend time thinking about it and just focused on pitching more.

What can we hope to see from Clearbanc in the future?

Capital is the biggest barrier to starting and growing your company, but this is just the start. We’re building products for every founder, whether that’s different kinds of funding like marketing and inventory, to a Valuation dashboard and data platform so you can see how your business is doing in real time compared to your peers and competitors. It’s the entrepreneurs that are solving the world’s biggest problems and we’re betting on them and removing the barriers to success. And the UK is just the beginning for us, we want to help entrepreneurs build a global business from anywhere, so stay tuned for more.