Brex: 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50

Founders: Henrique Dubugras, Pedro Franceschi (co-CEO)
Launched: 2017
Headquarter: remote first
$ 1.2 billion
Assessment: 12.3 billion dollars
Key Technologies:
Cloud computing, machine learning
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 1 (No. 6 in 2021)

Brex offers start-ups lines of credit and software to manage their finances. While its main product – an unsecured, high-limit card for start-ups – exposes it to high-risk companies that may fail, the company manages risk by using real-time customer data to help make dynamic lending decisions.

Today the company has over 10,000 corporate clients, including start-ups like Boxed and Outdoor Voices, and former start-ups that have grown to large public companies, like DoorDash and Airbnb.

Brex likes to say that its business services extend the power of every dollar, freeing start-ups to chase big dreams without worrying about unnecessary spending. Right now, making every dollar count in companies that burn cash has never been more important. Brex takes a view of the balance sheet of hyper-growing start-ups as few companies do in the economy, and following VC records of 2021, its business model is being challenged in new ways as the tech sector moves away from it. growth at any cost to focus on cash flow and profits.

Increased coverage of CNBC Disruptor 50 of 2022

Brex is among the start-ups that have received the liquidity of the VC sector. Its two most recent rounds included a $ 425 million fundraiser in April 2021, led by investment firm Tiger Global, and a $ 300 million round in January of this year, led by Greenoaks Capital and Technology Crossover. Ventures. Brex has now raised over $ 1.2 billion from investors that also include Y Combinator and PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, along with over $ 300 million in Barclays and Credit Suisse lines of credit.

Last month it spent part of its horde of cash on a cash-flow-focused acquisition, acquiring software company Pry for $ 90 million in April. The software helps founders project cash flow, track budgets, and classify revenue and costs.

In a way, the early days of the pandemic, when Brex curbed customer credit lines and was forced to lay off herself, served as a test for what could happen in the startup world during a bigger one. economic recession. “We assume that 70% of our businesses will fail every two years, because we serve start-ups and most start-ups fail,” co-founder and co-CEO Henrique Dubugras he told CNBC last year after the pandemic crash turned into a boom. “I think it’s well known and that’s fine.”

As its original start-up sweet spot faces an economic crisis, the company has expanded its roster of larger corporate services and clients. DoorDash was the first client for a software product launched in April called Empower, which Brex shifted from reliance on card fees and further to subscription-based revenue.

Empower was launched with a focus on spending management, followed by travel, procurement, payments and access to banks. Its core service remains critical to all businesses as they need to manage a tighter ship.

“We want to help companies build a culture of trust, but of financial discipline so it’s not free for everyone,” Dubugras said in an interview with TechCrunch.

Earlier this month, the company expanded Empower to serve employees of US-based companies in more than 100 countries and will subsequently allow local subsidiaries of companies to manage bank statements and card collections in local currency.

subscribe for our original weekly newsletter that goes beyond the annual Disruptor 50 listing, offering a closer look at list-making companies and their innovative founders.