Founders: Henrique Dubugras, Pedro Franceschi (co-CEO)
Spear : 2017
Headquarter: Remote first
Funding: $1.2 billion
Evaluation: $12.3 billion
Key technologies: Cloud computing, machine learning
Previous appearances on the Disruptor 50 list: 1 (#6 in 2021)
Brex offers start-ups lines of credit and software to manage their finances. While its main product – an unsecured, high-limit payment card for start-ups – exposes it to high-risk businesses that could go bankrupt, the company manages risk using real-time customer data. to help make dynamic lending decisions.
Today, the company has more than 10,000 enterprise customers, including startups like Boxed and Outdoor Voices, and former startups that have become large public companies, like DoorDash and Airbnb.
Brex likes to say that its business services extend the power of every dollar, freeing up startups to pursue big dreams without worrying about unnecessary expense. Today, making every dollar count in money-consuming businesses has never been more important. Brex has a view on the balance sheet of hyper-growth start-ups like few companies in the economy do, and after 2021’s record venture capital sums, its business model is being tested in new ways. ways as the tech sector shifts from growth at all costs to focusing on cash flow and profits.
Brex is among the start-ups that have benefited from the liquidity of the venture capital industry. Its two most recent rounds included a $425 million fundraise in April 2021, led by investment firm Tiger Global, and a $300 million fundraise in January this year, led by Greenoaks Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures. Brex has now raised over $1.2 billion from investors who also include Y Combinator and PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, as well as over $300 million in credit lines from Barclays and Credit. Swiss.
He spent some of his own horde of cash on a cash flow-focused acquisition last month, acquiring software company Pry for $90 million in April. The software helps founders project cash flow and track budgets, and categorize revenue and costs.
In some ways, the early days of the pandemic, when Brex limited customer lines of credit and was itself forced into layoffs, served as a test case for what might happen in the start-up world. up during a larger economic downturn. “We assume that 70% of our businesses will close every two years because we serve startups and most startups fail,” co-founder and co-CEO Henrique Dubugras told CNBC l last year after the pandemic crash has become a boom again. “I think it’s known and okay.”
As its original start-up sweet spot faces an economic crisis, the company has expanded its roster of services and clients for large enterprises. DoorDash was the first customer for a software product launched in April called Empower, which took Brex away from reliance on card fees and further into subscription-based revenue.
Empower was launched with a focus on expense management, tracking travel, purchases, payments and access to banking services. Its core service remains essential for all businesses when tighter vessel management is required.
“We want to help companies build a culture of trust – but a culture of financial discipline so that it’s not free for all,” Dubugras said in a TechCrunch interview.
Earlier this month, the company expanded Empower to serve employees of U.S.-based businesses in more than 100 countries, and it will then enable local corporate subsidiaries to manage card statements and currency collections. local.
Sign up for our quirky weekly newsletter that goes beyond the annual Disruptor 50 list, offering deeper insight into the companies making the list and their innovative founders.