Clair Pay Case Study
Social Fintech Company
In October 2019 we were approached by a trio of Swiss nationals with an ambitious idea: create a social fintech company aimed at disrupting the predatory payday lending industry. Our initial task was to obtain E-2 visas for all three founders.
Prior to their arrival on the scene, most hourly workers seeking advances on their wages would be subject to exorbitant fees by lenders, and most solutions were made to keep consumers in a lending trap instead of helping them save. Nico Simko, the founder of the company (initially called Maverick and now known as Clair), saw both an injustice here and an opportunity to correct it. Nico found that, on average, lenders were charging workers an average of 300% on their advances. In creating Clair, Nico and his co-founders Alex and Erich, partnered directly with the freelance platforms and HR departments paying the hourly workers. The business model allowed the employers to advance the wages onto a worker’s Clair-issued debit card. The worker would not be charged any fees and Clair’s revenue would come from the transaction fees paid by Mastercard.
The Visa Process
After our initial consultation, we developed a detailed strategy for obtaining visas for Nico, Alex, and Erich. We gathered and reviewed the documentation and decided to submit Nico’s application first at the US Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. He was interviewed in January 2020 and received his approval within minutes. We subsequently submitted petitions for Alex and Erich, both of whom were met with equally smooth experiences in Bern.
Shortly thereafter all three founders were in the US and the business began to grow at breakneck speed. Within less than a year, Clair received $4.5 million USD in seed funding. Less than one year later, the company secured a $15 million USD Series A round led by Thrive Capital. The founders then approached Path Law Group to develop an immigration strategy to help attract and retain talented employees. To date, we have worked with Clair to obtain numerous E-2 essential employee visas, H-1Bs, and EB green cards via PERM. Notably, we were able to obtain I-140 approval for both Nico and Erich via the EB-1A, Extraordinary Ability category.
As of the time of this writing the company has grown from three founders to 50+ full-time employees in 30 months. Their service is offered across 8,000+ businesses ranging from 25 industries, from Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses – and we are honored to be part of their impressive growth.