interviews

Cristina Vila: Cledara is right now focused on Europe but U.S Market is surely on Radar

The task of software Subscription management is never as easy as it seems. This is certainly true about a rapidly growing company as it has tones of subscription to manage. Cristina Vila witnessed this problem first hand when she was working at one of the companies. The experience was surely not a very pleasant one but this did help her to summon her entrepreneurial spirit, eventually leading to the birth of Cledara.

Founded in July 2018 in London, this SaaS startup aims to free companies from the nightmare problem of managing their softaware subscriptions. Cledara claims that its intuitively designed software has all the answers to subscription management problem. The startups says that its software efficiently helps companies track and manage all their SaaS usage (spendings) under one platform.

Although Cledara still has a long way to go, it has certainly made a good impression on the investors with the startup recently raising $930,000 in pre-seed funding round. Today this company is offering its product across several key European markets.

Techpluto caught with Cledara’s founder and CEO Cristina Vila in an exclusive interview. In this special interview, Cristina speaks about the recent fundraising round and the way ahead for her company. She also sheds on Cledara’s special feature and other important aspects.

Q) How did the idea of ‘Cledara’ come to you?

A few years ago, I was brought into manage the operations for a fast growing startup of 140 people across three countries. We were growing so fast that before I joined, processes had evolved organically and weren’t documented.

The first step for managing it was understanding the SaaS we used, but there wasn’t a record of what we used anywhere, so I had to speak to the whole team individually to see what they were using. The frustrating thing was, as soon as I did that, it was already out of date because the finance team kept coming to me to ask what a charge on the company card was for – there was always something new! There had to be a better way and that’s why I started Cledara.

Q) Cledara recently raised $930,000 in pre-seed funding round. How does the company plan to use this capital infusion?

We’ll be using the round to continue to build the product based on all the feedback we’ve had to date from our amazing customers and to grow the team – particularly in engineering, product and UX.

Q) Can you please shed some light on some of the top features of Cledara and how do these features help in better management of SaaS subscriptions?

By using Cledara, the entire company can see all the SaaS used by the company on one screen. Team members can request new SaaS products, managers can review and approve, all SaaS is paid for with a unique virtual Mastercard using the company’s money and unwanted SaaS can be cancelled just by cancelling a card.

This infrastructure allows companies to save money by not spending on unwanted, duplicate or unused SaaS. It helps them manage GDPR risk and demonstrate a procurement process for ISO standards. It also allows teams to move fast – no more waiting for the company card from the finance team or founder!

Q) After being in operation for one year, where does Cledara currently stands in terms of profitability and revenue. Can you please share some stats and figures with regards to the same?

We’ve been doubling (or more!) every month since launch, but we don’t disclose customer numbers or revenue.

Q) Can you also please shed some light on Cledara’s revenue model?

We charge a monthly subscription fee and earn interchange when the Cledara cards are used.

Q) Cledara’s has quite a few competitors in the form of Soldo, Pleo and Spendesk. What makes Cledara unique and different from all its top competitors?

Unlike most of the above, Cledara is already available in 2 currencies and across 28 countries. The above companies are wonderful at what they do, but Cledara is fundamentally different – it is entirely focused on helping tech companies manage their SaaS, rather than being general purpose expense platforms.

Q) Any major plans to expand your footprints to other lucrative markets?

We have strong demand in the US and would consider launching there in the future, but for now we are focused on Europe!

Q) Where do you see Cledara 2-3 years from now in terms of overall growth?

We plan to keep on growing fast by listening to our customers and iterating based on their great feedback. We aim to become the default way companies purchase, manage and analyse their software subscriptions.

Q) Going forward, what is your rough prediction for the overall industry. Do you foresee any major opportunities and challenges that Cledara and all its competitors should be ready to face in the coming years?

SaaS is both a super power and a curse for companies. On the one hand, it gives all companies capabilities previously only accessible to the very largest, but on the other it is impossible to manage. The bottom-up sales model made popular by companies like Slack creates large risks for companies – if they don’t even know what software they’re using, how can they manage customer data safely? Platforms like Cledara will become essential for companies that want to use SaaS scalably and safely.

Q) Lastly, looking back at your entrepreneurial career, any piece of advice you would like to give to all the budding as well as professional entrepreneurs out there?

Move fast, ship often and talk to customers at every opportunity.

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