Founder Fireside with Brex and Y Combinator

Foreign This is always sort of surreal to be Interviewing someone in person that I've Just talked to on the phone or in Zoom So I'm still kind of adjusting this very Cool thanks for being here thank you so Much for having us yeah so founder Founder Journey Tell us about when you first started Brex I believe you were in your early 20s Yeah so um the the founding story you Know in a quick way is uh born and Raised in Brazil Um and out of high school I started a Payments business in Brazil that did Payment Processing so kind of like Stripe of Brazil and then after selling That company moved to the U.S to go to College and then dropped out to Starbucks in fintech actually the first Idea that we got into YC wasn't actually In fintech it was a VR company oh really Yeah because you know when we sold the Last company we were tired of fintech We're like all these Banks and Regulators is so complicated you know We're now in Silicon Valley we want to Do something the bleeding edge of Psychology so VR seemed like it a few Weeks into YC we realized we had no clue What we were doing and decided to Pivot Into Brax Um and uh you know in brex the first

Kind of value proposition we realized Was that there's all these startups that Had raised millions of dollars and they Couldn't get a corporate card and we're Like that makes absolutely no sense how Can you have race three four five Million dollars and still not be able to Get a corporate card So you know that's what we decided to do Early on yeah so the last time you were Disrupt was three years ago you were Launching Rex cash at that time and There were Billboards all over the city Right with you know you couldn't Couldn't uh pass the bus stop without Seeing rex on a billboard you're Aggressively marketing to startups and Kind of an old school way But then earlier this year you kind of Had a shift in strategy you announced That you were making a push into Software you're going to be focusing on The Enterprise and then this summer you Talked about no longer working with smbs And non-professionally funded startups Now this kind of surprised a lot of People upset a lot of people Really just want to understand what what Led to that decision when you when you Were born as the company that was Um building a corporate credit card for Startups what led to this decision is Such a change in your strategy Absolutely so um just to explain that

Um you know it takes a little bit of History but so we started brex corporate Card for startups right and honestly That is still a lot of our Core Business And if you look at our Revenue this Majority of the revenue comes from Startups that we acquired you know five Years ago and they became kind of like Larger companies and startups that we Acquired today and then as every company We needed to expand right we're doing This corporate card for startup thing we Launched Rex cash which is you know our Business account for startups Where Do We Go From Here we had a couple options We could go to okay we're doing Breakfast startups then we go do brexit E-commerce right another vertical and Then startups are small businesses so Why not get traditional small businesses That was another idea and then the third Idea was like hey let's go into the mid Market and large companies because we Had companies that started with us and You know scaled all the way so let's Let's serve them and we had to raise a Good amount of capital so we're like why Not do all of these and I think what we Realized that a star founder is that In our journey is that it's really hard To do all of these at the same time you Kind of have to pick and choose no Matter how much money you raise because It's not about the money it's about the

Focus of the organization it's about you Know what are your leaders spending time On and what happened is when we started Serving a more traditional smbs right And Um you know and it's it's a hard Delineation between what's an SMB what's A startup you know at brexit is very Clear but externally it's a little bit More complicated we realized that you Know we went from onboarding a few Hundred starters every month to Onboarding five ten thousand smbs every Month And everything started breaking and you Know the kind of like uh everything that You would expect if you just multiply All your volumes by 10. and then what Happened with that is Um we start our core customer which was The startups we started not serving them As well as we wanted to because we were You had so many small businesses and the Ones that were growing which is a lot of Our best customers to start with us Starting to say hey like you know in Order for me to stay with you all the Way through I need some new features and Functionality So then as a Founder you know we came to This like super hard moment and decision To say okay what do we do where do we Focus and we decided to focus on our Core custom which are the startups and

You know we made a super hard decision To off-board a lot of the more Traditional smbs in order to keep Serving our core Market because what we Realize is that our value proposition For startups was number one Um You can stay with us from the beginning Till IPO and Beyond right like a lot of Times this our customers when we talk to Them they're like look I don't want to Use a tool that I'm going to have to Switch out to something more mature Later I want to go with something that Can start today and stay until I go IPO And Beyond so we needed to like solve That right and so I think that's kind of What led us to the strategy of focusing On the startups that we're growing in Our base so Um and focusing on the you know startups Plus mid-market and Enterprise as well I Know I'm curious um when when brex You're an early investor in the company By the way in case those of you didn't Realize um when brex started Contemplating this move And discussed it with you what were your First thoughts I mean did you think okay This is a good idea or did you have your Doubts Yeah no I think like first of all I'd Like to give you all some perspective 2020 and 2021 were very different years

For pretty much every startup right like The world we were in a pandemic we were In remote world and what did that mean For startups that brex was Servicing Everything had changed so if you look at When Breck started in 2017 pretty much All YC startups were in person They all had less than 10 employees they Were in person and in 2020 and 2021 Startups had to be remote first there Was no other option so now the brex card Could no longer just work for a U.S Employee it had to work for employees Globally so I think you have so it was Not surprising from the sense that you Know they started with a core product That was exceptionally valuable I would Say for example when they first launched It in the YC batch I think the first Batch itself greater than 80 percent of Startups signed up for brex because that It was not possible to get a credit card Within 24 hours in 2017 In spite of getting an investment and Fast forward four years later suddenly The archetype of a startup looks Different you know 42 percent of YC Startups are international greater than 35 percent of YC startups now recognize Themselves as remote first off the bat So brex had to really adapt their Startup product in 2020 and 2021 so when You have that plus a new customer SMB so The discussion was really okay let's

Figure out what to do one thing really Well versus try and do two to three Things really well because that's just Hard so because startups are resource Constrained more than Capital constraint Right so and when you think about where To put all your resources you know it Was a very honest discussion at the Board level in terms of okay who's our Core segment and we want to continue Service that segment that segment looks Different now their needs are different So let's double down on that Okay that's interesting um but this Summer when it when it did happen and You did make the announcement There was there were a lot of upset People and I think a lot of startups or Some startups felt kind of abandoned or You know the smaller ones that that you Were no longer serving Um because you you know you were one of The fastest growing fintechs right Um very very Buzzy made such a name for Yourself in the startup world so it There were some Shock waves And and I suspect you may not have Expected the The Fallout or the I guess The backlash that you got so tell tell Us like what did you learn from that Were you surprised by what happened what Would you do differently if you could go Back in time Yeah for sure I think that

Um probably the first mistake is that as I said in brex when we set SMB or Startup it was very different and it was In our heads it was very different that Those were different things so I think The first problem was that it was very Confusing who we were and who we were in Solving for so you know a few days later We released what is the eligibility Criteria and we're hoping to get all Kinds of startups right from you know The bootstrap ones that hasn't received Venture funding at two Venture funding Two crypto right like that is the target Audience that we do want and we do want To serve and I think we should have made That more clear with the amounts and It's like what is the eligibility Criteria to stay abrex right and to work With Rex so that was probably Um you know a big learning just in terms Of how we communicate it you know to our Customers Um and then I would say like look the The biggest learning for me that I try To apply is Sequencing instead of parallel so try to Do less things well And uh you know focus on them and try Instead of trying to you know catch the Whole world at once Well that's a valuable lesson I think There are a lot of startups that have Been in that position trying to do

Multiple things at the same time I'm a Mother I work and and I get it when you Try to do too many things at once Inevitably something's not going to go Right or if something's you know not Going to go very well you had mentioned That everything started breaking can you Elaborate on that what do you mean by Everything started breaking well I think That all the customer support lines were Taking forever right imagine that Um you know the underwriting started Getting more complicated because we Couldn't be super nuanced about knowing Every customer I needed to be more Automated the more automated it was we Rejected a lot of companies that weren't Supposed to be rejected that's Interesting and then Um it just became more complicated to Operate at scale I think when we were at Startups we could literally look every Startup and make a decision and you know Understand who are the investors what Are they doing who were the founders who Understand thousand of them it's really Hard to do it in a very thoughtful way So we had to automate in every Automation kind of fails in some way so That was like you know a big problem but More importantly is The convergence of roadmap didn't exist Like a lot of the businesses were saying Hey we want Capital we want working

Capital Loans we want loans so you know We can build out my restaurant or build Out my uh my flower shop and startups Were telling us we won Global right like Remote was happening and you know people Were hiring anywhere they were telling We want spend management because we're Now growing and we have more employees We need to control spend Um you know we want a bunch of different Things that this the road maps Completely diverged from the small Business roadmap so that's why it was Really hard Yeah I mean I think obviously the Pandemic changed a lot of things a lot Of people had to adapt and pivot in ways That they that they never expected um so When you started out did you I bet did you imagine that like a few Years later that you would be in this in This situation with such a different a Different roadmap a different strategy Moving into software focus on Enterprise You earlier this year you announced Doordash was one of your earliest Customers like Um How how did you handle such a pivot yeah For sure so um well before uh the Pandemic pidra and I we not only did an Algorithm at work we were anti-remote Work Um we did not believe it was a viable

Option for for companies Um six months into the pandemic we Announced that brex is going to be Remote first forever so you know talk About someone changing their mind Completely yeah and um and I think what We saw uh with the pandemic is a lot of Times the best kind of like business Opportunities they happen when there is A platform shift right so people did you Know that talk about the creation of Computing right Um and how that platform shift and then We came to the internet and then we came To mobile Um you know and we're hoping for VR you Know Pedro and I are not going to do it But you know hopefully uh Mata does but Um We believe that this shift to Distributed work is the next platform Shift and if you still believe remote or An office like that's a whole debate I'm Not even going to get into it but Companies are not saying I'm gonna hire In one place anymore because it's clear From the pandemic that there is Talent Everywhere people are moving everywhere And when there is this kind of like Massive shift in the world that creates A lot of opportunity for businesses like Rex to create solutions for the changing World right so as you know Anna said as More companies Go Remote first everyone

Needs to have now stipends and have Lunch in the office how do you make a Really good product to make stipends Work really well right Um as companies hire globally they need To you know reimburse employees globally Like how do we do that so you can send Money all around the world right so Um all these kind of as travel came back Travel came back and not in the same way Before travel was all about the Road Warriors who were visiting their Customers right in person now a lot of Travels about seeing your own co-workers So as all the world changes you know it Kind of like creates a lot of Opportunity so we need to Pivot the Business to you know to take advantage Of customer Demand right into you know Build what our customers want I get that but how does how does that Translate into Enterprise shift and then the software Yeah software Focus for sure so the way I think about our the brex business is I Think that the first part of our journey You know is what I call the enablement Right the first thing you need to do is You didn't have a card we need to give You a card you didn't have a bank Account we'll give you a business Account you didn't have cards uh or you Know you couldn't reimburse people you Know in the US or globally we're going

To allow that to do for you right and That is the first iteration of our Business it's still something that we're Building to today but the next step is Hey how do I make sure now your company Grew a little bit that all of your spend Is compliant and tax compliant budget Compliant policy compliant right like How do you make sure that the spend is Going to the right place that is a Software issue that is like how do we Not build now financial fintech and Financial infrastructure like we did for The enablement but how do we build Software to help employees and Empower Employees and make sure they're Compliant and if we can do it in a Really smart way right we can accelerate Companies a lot because it's just easier For everyone to do that around the Organization and that's a big shift in Business model because now the buying is Now I'm not just buying something that I Didn't have now a lot of times we're Replacing something right and that Requires a whole new motion as a company To figure that out can I add something To that I think that you know when Enrique went through YC in 2017 early 2018 he had I remember this vividly he And Pedro had many arcs of product and Road maps laid out and so this question Of Do we want to serve as the startup as

They grow and scale and so do rash is a IC company that scaled and went public Was there it was more sequencing which Was should we do first the late stage Product or should we first do the SMB Product and at that time I remember in 2019 when 2018 when you all launched Publicly like the number one thing on The wait list or people who were waiting To sign up and get activated with smbs And so the call that time was okay we're Servicing startups really well and we Have these hundreds of thousands of smbs So let's do that first but when the World shifted in 2020 where startups Were going remote and the early cohorts Of brex customers are now scaling you Know the the demand from those customers Was very strong and so they made the Call so it was never like totally new Pivot the product and the plan in the Roadmap was there well in 2018. Interesting yeah earlier today I also Talked to a couple of other CEOs in this Space Eric glyman from ramp dejo Cote From Airbase In general it's become a much more Crowded space right I feel like every Month I'm hearing about new players Rippling is now in spend management trip Actions went from just travel to overall Expenses What how well how did all this increased Level of competition impact

Your strategy You know moving forward yeah absolutely Look Um as any founder right uh competition Changes the market and you need to adapt And I think that you know as we start a Brex we had this we were solving this Problem like people can't get a card and We solved that problem and now you know Other people got inspired by that idea Um and you know are solving a similar Problem so you need to evolve and adapt After that and I think that you know Look it's such a massive market right if You think about spend management Globally right corporate cards globally Is such a massive market and each Company is approaching it in its own Unique way so I will say I will separate Our competitors in in kind of two Buckets right so Um one one bucket is you know people Whose their entire business is doing What we're doing Um and each of us is trying to go to a Different angle you know and and and and You know obviously we think our solution Is much better but Um we're a little bit biased and then There's uh the people who are doing this As a an add-on right like just one of Like 20 products that they're doing Um I would say that it looks a lot Easier from the outside than from the

Inside to do a card it seems that with The rise of Marquette or stripe issuing Is very easy to now issue a card but There's a lot more that goes into it so It's very easy to start and have a Marketing page but it's very hard to Actually scale And get meaningful traction on on the Car and we had many you know that didn't Get any traction between expensify or Stripe that launch cards and we haven't Seen any uh any disruption to to our Market there so Um but in the end of the day I think Competition makes you focus right like Uh I think that if you If you don't have good competitors right It doesn't push you to make it better For your customer every single day so I Think that it's healthy honestly brex is A lot better Customer because we have Competitors now So Um just last week I wrote about a Decision that you made as a company that To to lay off about 11 of your staff is I think 136 people if I remember Correctly Um and if I if I understood correctly That was in part due to your decision to Stop serving smbs can you talk a little Bit more about that I think I think that one of the things I'm most Interested in is earlier this year you

Know you were valued at 12.3 billion Dollars making you a deck of corn I mean You've grown you know an incredible Rates since you first started How did it feel to go from like raising Hundreds of millions of dollars at this Very high evaluation to having to lay Off staff Yeah so um obviously it's An incredibly hard thing to do as CEO And founder like if you think about the Journey of being a CEO and founder This is the worst part you know like I Can tell you there's a lot of hard stuff But this is the worst of them And I think that you know the world Again good companies they are companies Who see reality and adapt to the Environment and we had both the business Model shift that you mentioned that you Know as part of the reason but second is You know in a world in which now Profitability is you know an a path to Profitability is very important you need To be able to make decisions like these And focus on on getting there So you know we we did what we had to do To keep a sustainable business and you Know it was super hard but hopefully Um you know we we felt we we were we did Very well for the people who left and You know we we appreciate them a lot Are you doing any are you doing any Other things to help

Um I guess minimize uh cash burn I mean Do you still have a lot of Runway and And I knew before I forget also I'd love To hear are you seeing a lot of other Companies go through similar trimming as Well yeah I mean I'm happy to I Graduated 2001 and 2009 so those were The two times I graduated and I know how Difficult those macro Cycles were I was One of the candidates in 2001 even Before my job started that was laid off Look layoffs are very tough decisions More I mean the macro environment that We are in right now and that we will be At least in early 23 is So far all the signals are way worse Than the last five years so as companies And Founders are advised to companies is You have to make the hard decision Sooner And sometimes the hard decisions are Usually you know double down and focus On one thing and second is building a Very sustainable business that gives you The right to come through on the other Side to make new bets or have the Capital to grow so that from that lens I Mean you've seen already the Press which Is you know companies have had to make Hard decisions and I'm sure it's not Something they wake up and take that in A very like relaxed way it's very Deliberate and well thought through And it's hard but I think the macro

Environment is quite different than Anything we've seen I mean we often say In YC that some of our companies that Started in 2009 Have not seen a recession until now Right it's the first time so but the the Positive thing in this is I always tell You know companies and Founders what Doesn't kill you only makes you strong So the most important thing is do right By our customers Do the use the least amount of capital To do the right thing and then come out On the other side and then take the Right to grow Which brings back I'm sorry that's Actually a good segue into my question For you What are you doing to to preserve Runway What other measures are you taking to Minimize cash burn right now Yeah for sure I think in um in general Right like every company right now is Going through this exercise of looking At cost and that actually is a massive Tailwind for brex because last year if Your product didn't help grow Revenue You didn't get the time of day now I Think as a product that helps you manage Costs and understand how you're spending The money across your company especially As you scale Um you know it is we are getting on the Time of day and in terms of a lot of new

Acquisition I think that look in terms Of other the biggest uh cost in a Startup is head count I would say we Don't have very aggressive hiring plans Anymore and you know obviously we we did This layoff so those are probably the Biggest measures and I think as a remote First company we also have Um very little offices so that's also Very helpful and then I think that the Probably the biggest thing that you know We want to do it is like obviously to Keep growing we have to keep investing And we're very committed to hiring Everywhere in the world now so we Started doing in Brazil and Israel and Canada but we hope to hire in a lot more Countries and I highly recommend for any Founders there are so many talented Engineers all over the world so if you Haven't started hiring globally like That's something that I highly highly Recommend you doing Um they you know and a lot of times you Have people that are you know cheaper That live even better because the cost Of living is lower work really hard and Are really smart and talented so Uh we've got a lot of q a here so I just Have one more question that I want to Get into q a Um how it what are your plans for Empower which is your new software Product and I know you talked about

Doordash but can you talk about any Other Enterprise customers that you've landed Since then yeah for sure so uh today We're also announcing that we're Deploying coinbase which is one of the Companies I admire the most that Pioneered crypto in the US and I you Know Um definitely also YC company uh and uh You know there's seat geek built and a Couple other Enterprise customers There's a lot of them but you know we Need to get some authorization to talk About them so more more on that coming Soon and I think in terms of uh Empower Right if you if you think about what We're doing as I said we focus a lot of Enablements and doing more of that Globally right so making sure all of our Products now work for companies that are Globally and Multinational that's a big Priority for us and in the compliance Piece I was talking about is like how do We make it extremely easy to be Compliant how do we automate receipts so No one has to do receipts anymore Because I hate I always lose my receipts Yeah everyone hates receipts uh how do We you know automatically approve things That are in policy how do we make it Super easy for employees to know even What is the policy right like how do we Route how do we make stipends super easy

So people are not approving the same Stipends every month because it's Already there so we're making extremely Easy for employees and finance leaders To make the company compliant which is Kind of what we're focused on in power Right now Okay cool so um yeah we have uh 13 Minutes left let's dive into some of These questions uh someone wants to know What's what's the biggest mistake you Made at brex Well we probably covered it was trying To do too much at the same time with uh Trying to take all these markets at the Same time Okay Um someone else wants to know that Though they're asking if you can share a Story from your early days where you Made a big bold ask from someone and Actually got it Anna do you have anything I do I have Many stories of anything I mean one of The things I would say Um that both Enrique and Pedro are Exceptionally good at as fast Learners So extremely fast Learners so one thing I remember from the batch we told them I Think uh Dalton actually their group Partner said well if you're pivoting to A fintech company and you're launching This it would be great if you can go get Max lefton's endorsement if he actually

Believes in this idea and I remember we Were like they came from Brazil they Have no idea of anything in Silicon Valley but I remember this very well They wanted to learn how to end Interview engineers in the US because They had only hired in Brazil so they Went through the recruiting Career Services of you know recruiting in F for Firm at Stanford went through the full Recruiting process to learn how you know Companies hire here got the offer told Them that they want to meet Max Lefton Before they decide and of course the Team introduced them to Max leftgen they Pitched Brax and they got Angel Investing from Max That's just I have many such stories but That just tells you how resourceful and Deliberate they are with the with the And their ability to learn The question also specifically geared Toward you how do you at YC support Startups like brex when they scale from Zero to one and then from one to scale So um so yes I helped lead the Continuity one for those of you along With Ali rogani for those of you that That are not familiar Um continuity was launched seven years Ago within YC we do two things one is You know double down in a select subset Of YC companies that are breaking out And two we actually help them uh we run

The post batch YC programming so for Companies that are scaling what we Really focused on is helping them with Company building so you know especially When the C you know the CEO is managing 30 employees and going from 30 to 100 or 200 you know it's the pretty much the First time they're managing that many People so what we do is really helping Them focus on how to hire senior leaders How to onboard them how to do Performance Management compensation Philosophy but we're really using the Collective knowledge of the YC Community The scale from YC Founders who share Their learnings and lessons so that's Really where we focus Um another question that I thought was Interesting brex is in part known for Kind of what you might describe as Flashy marketing we talked about the Billboards yup yacht parties I think you Had a cafe at one point we did yeah Right I visited today actually really Yeah oh okay but you no longer no not Anymore Um so the actual question is why is that Kind of spending worthwhile amidst a Market downturn Well most of the Let's uh let's let's Separate into so there's a stuff we did In the early days and there's this stuff We do now Um in the early days the famous story is

That we actually bought almost every Billboard in San Francisco and because There's actually not a lot of people Buying Billboards everyone only wanted To do it Google and Facebook ads because It was so easy to track conversion rates And measure we actually bought most of The Billboards in San Francisco for Three months for three hundred thousand Dollars Um three hundred thousand three hundred Thousand dollars yeah which you know may Seem like a lot of money we had to raise Around 60 million dollars at the time so It wasn't uh huge for us but it was Massively successful we definitely got Way more than that in Revenue in the First month Um that that we did that and obviously Billboard's got more maybe they're Cheaper now actually after the pandemic But Um you know obviously like a Billboards And then after we did it a lot of people Did it so you know it got more expensive Um so I think like every time coming up With like what are people not doing Right like what are the opportunities That not everyone is doing right now Because if everyone is doing it then it Doesn't work so we were always trying to Do new things some of them work some of Them didn't work the cafe clearly after Pandemic didn't work so but you know you

Got to keep trying stuff and and some of Them do I think these days look brex is Extremely structured in terms of budgets CAC paybacks and you know uh a lot of When we talked to our startup customers They always say that Community is one of The most important things for them is Like they love being a brex customer Because of the community of brex Customers so Um you know doing events and parties and Things that put the community together Is core part of our strategy and it's What you know it's one of the ways we Differentiate and build relationship With our customers so you can't one Thing as a startup is like you know as Much as you'd like you can't save your Way to a successful startup you need to Invest and you need to do things you Just need to be thoughtful right and Make sure that the money is going to the Right places and it's not being wasted Well and we touched on earlier Um all these competitive and one of the Questions here is Or statement ramp better than brex why Is this statement false I'd like to Expand that to maybe a little bit more Generally why would you say that What is what makes brex so much better In your view than all these other Offerings or I guess why why do you Believe that brex is so much better than

These other offerings yeah yeah for sure So um I would say that I would separate In two segments so let's start those Startups and then I'll go to kind of Like more mint mark Enterprise for Startups I would say brex is best for One you can have all in one place right So you have your credit cards you have Your business accounts you have bill pay You have expense management you have Venture debt you have Financial modeling All integrated one place right so it's Super easy to have everything one place Easy to start easy to manage so that's Number one number two is we can go with You from the beginning till IPO plus Like I told you about doordash I told You about coinbase scale AI started when There were two people now they're you Know I think close to a thousand still Of brex flex Sports started out pretty Small also a couple thousand people Right so if you start with Brax you can Scale all the way through I think a lot Of our competitors we see people Churning off of them as they grow as Well And then number three is global brex has A massive commitment to global companies Right like that's a big Journey it's a Complicated problem so if you are a Startup or a mid-market Enterprise Company and you plan on hiring outside Of the US you plan on having operations

Outside of the U.S there's no competitor Of Rex right now that's investing more In making that successful so I would say That's probably like the three or four To Startup world the three reasons I Would describe As kind of the differentiators of Brax Good to that answer one Who would you say is a brex competitor And then you talked about global company Um Do You Believe post-pandemic now that You know remote is still a thing but not Quite what it was that it's still viable To create a global company from anywhere Or does it really make a difference for The founder to be for an employee to be Us-based Sorry three two questions at you at the Same time yeah so Um I'll start with the second one which Is if you're going to start a company so Well the first one is easy so who is the Bright competitor so we actually in Fintech we have a lot of uh Frenemies You know I think that's like the thing So if you think about all the banks Right and all the fintech companies they All work with each other at the same Time they all use each other too right Right so you know JPMorgan has a Corporate card but we you know use JPMorgan for a bunch of stuff Um you know and I think that that is you Know we we concur is somewhat of a

Competitor to us and spin management but We also integrative concur Um you know for customers that are Joined customers right so in fintech World you know you have a lot of people Who kind of overlap in parts of the Process right or ripplings the other Example that you mentioned that you know Launch a larger card and spend Management but you know they're a great Integration partner for hris so it's Something that's pretty common in our Industry and you know it's something you Have to learn how to deal with if you're If you're doing it Um in terms of like where to start look I would say that uh I believe in a world that no matter Where you were born you can have the Same Economic Opportunity if you're born Silicon Valley right like but I don't think we're there yet Um I was born in Brazil and Um I you know I got to the point of my Company in which I had to decide do I Sell my company and move to the US to Try to go big there or do I stay here And build this company and I believe That in order to be successful I had to Be here and I think that's definitely The trend is going the other direction Now many successful companies are being Started from many places in the world And I hope Rex can be a part on you know

Pushing that shift forward because I do Want to leave you know world to my kids Where that is true and you can start a Company from everywhere and be as Successful as starting here in the US I'd add that please from YC standpoint I Would say You know I still think when you're Starting out a company like scratch this Benefit to being in person because You're brainstorming and you don't even Have a product that works and you need To get it to work and talk to users and Figure out if you have early signs of Some product Market fit is that a Company to be built but once you get to Around 100 150 employees it's really Hard to scale in Bay Area that was true Even in 2018 Yeah and if you know there's another YC Company Fair uh which is also which Which is scaled really well they have Around 350 Engineers any guesses how Many are in the Bay Area Three So I think more startups will start Globally just because there are amazing Engineers working on startups everywhere So there'll be more companies that start Everywhere but when you're starting no Matter which part of the world you're in It helps to be in person as you're Scaling you inevitably I think in the Future are going to have to find a way

To scale remotely or I have some part of Your organization remote We only have two minutes and and I am Under strict orders not to go over time So I'm going to ask one more question And then we'll we'll have to wrap it up Um Foreign There's a number of them here Now I'm wasting time as young Founders I Think this is really interesting as Young Founders how did you convince Experienced Engineers to join brex I think that The You know that we've been building Companies since we're we're 14. so we Get that question for for a long time And I think that what's important when Hiring people that more experienced than You is you think that a lot of the Convincing is like oh my company will be Successful and there's obviously some of That but a lot of times senior people They want to feel impact they want to Feel that they actually going to come in And you're going to listen to them and The reality is you know when we started Our first company we were 16 the only Option we had was listening to them you Know we didn't know anywhere anything Else like how else would we know so I Think we have this culture of you know When we go to hire Senior People

Engineers or non-engineers you know what We say is like look you can make a real Difference here like we will listen to You we will push back but we will listen To you and you will have impact and we Will build this company together and I Think that's probably like when you're Young you're just thinking that you're Just trying to convince everyone that You're right in that the company is Going to be successful but just as Important is convincing them that They're going to be a great partner to You and you're going to grow together And build this company together Made it 30 seconds left thank you both So much for being here answering all of These questions thank you all for Attending and all of your great Questions Have a great day thank you so much


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