Successful founder stories are a trove of information and inspiration. They’re also a map of sorts, one that provides insight into the challenges of navigating the complex startup landscape. Hearing about the triumphs and challenges — and the inevitable missteps — can help new and aspiring early-stage founders stay the course and even avoid common pitfalls.
When it comes to startup founder stories, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as compelling as Henrique Dubugras, founder and co-CEO of Brex, a financial services company. He learned to code at age 12 and started his first fintech at age 16. Three years later, he sold that company, went to Stanford, founded Brex and joined the Y Combinator Winter 2017 cohort.
That’s just a tiny fraction of his story, and it’s why we’re thrilled to announce that Dubugras, along with Anu Hariharan, the managing director and partner at Y Combinator, will join us for a fireside chat at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18-20 in San Francisco.
Dubugras co-founded Brex in 2017 to provide corporate credit cards to startups. In five years, Brex has evolved — combining credit cards, business cash accounts, new spend management and bill pay software — to become a financial operating system for companies of all sizes.
Its achievements are impressive: Last January, the company raised $300 million in a Series D-2 round to increase its valuation to $12.3 billion, and it named a former Meta exec as its new chief product officer. In April, Brex acquired Pry Financials — a financial planning software startup backed by YC — for $90 million.
We can’t wait to dig into the story behind the success to understand what it took to build this fintech — and all of its technology — from scratch. We’ll get both the founder and the investor perspectives — Hariharan led the investment in Brex and had a front-row seat as it developed at YC.
A Brazilian entrepreneur, Dubugras built payments company Pagar.me when he was 16 years old. In three years, Pagar.me grew to $1.5 billion in volume of transactions processed. In 2016, Dubugras sold Pagar.me and enrolled at Stanford University. After eight months, he left school and founded Brex, which raised $215 million in funding across three rounds in its first 22 months.
Hariharan led investments in Boom, Brex, Convoy, Faire, Groww, Gusto, Instacart, Monzo, Rappi, RevenueCat, Snapdocs, Vouch and Whatnot. Previously, Hariharan was a partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), where she focused on consumer internet growth investments and worked with the management teams of portfolio companies including Airbnb, Instacart, Medium, OfferUp and Udacity. Prior to a16z, Hariharan was a principal at The Boston Consulting Group’s Private Equity practice in New York City, where she led multiple growth equity due diligences in the consumer and fintech sectors.
TechCrunch Disrupt is back in person on October 18-20 in San Francisco. Early action equals bigger savings: Grab your pass now and save up to $1,300. Student, government and nonprofit passes are available for just $195 but act soon as prices increase July 29.