They didn’t complete a single year of college, but Henrique Dubugras,
23, and Pedro Franceschi, 22, have already amassed a veteran’s share of
Silicon Valley experience. Now they have the net worth to match.
are the founders and top executives of Brex Inc. a fintech startup
recently valued at $2.6 billion, with an unlikely origin story. Dubugras
was just 14 when he built his first company, the maker of an online
video game, and shut it down after getting notices for patent
infringement. Soon after, he teamed up with Franceschi for another
venture -- payment processor Pagar.me, which grew to 150 employees
before they sold it in 2016. The pair then enrolled at Stanford
University, but didn’t make through freshman year before dropping out to
Brex, which launched its first product last year, has become a fintech darling, catapulting its founders into the ranks of the richest entrepreneurs -- on paper at least. Today their stakes in the company are worth an estimated $430 million each, according to an analysis by EquityZen, a marketplace for shares of tech firms that haven’t yet gone public.
The pair’s ascent is rapid even by Silicon Valley standards, were dropping out of Stanford to launch a startup is almost a cliché. Brex founded two years ago, has become one of the fastest American companies ever to reach a multibillion-dollar valuation, joining the ranks of startups like Uber Technologies Inc. and scooter unicorns Lime and Bird Rides Inc.
In 2017, Brex was valued at $25 million, according to data from PitchBook. Its latest funding round pegged its valuation at more than $2 billion.
The company’s key product is a credit card for startups and their
employees that relies on real-time data, rather than traditional credit
scores. One of the drivers of Brex’s towering valuation, its founders
have said, is its potential to expand into other businesses.
The firm has also recently introduced credit cards for
e-commerce and life-sciences companies. In addition to cards for
startups, Brex has said it plans to cater to larger firms, offering
cards with tailored rewards as well as expense management.
declined to comment for this story. Dubugras had said previously that
Brex’s new e-commerce business accounts for about one-third of its
Another fintech wunderkind, Max Levchin, who at 23 co-founded a company that would eventually become PayPal Holdings Inc., is an investor in Brex. So is Peter Thiel, also a PayPal co-founder, as well as the Kleiner Perkins Digital Growth Fund and Ribbit Capital.