brex has steadily expanded its partnerships with startup aggregators over time, such as Y Combinator, AngelList, and today, according to the latest announcement, it signed a new deal with Techstars.
Brex CEO and Co-Founder Henrique Dubugras compared his company’s strategy to Stripe’s: “If you can get companies from scratch, you’re acting like a venture capitalist.” Techstars accelerator companies are now getting access to a variety of Brex benefits, including a platform support team, program sign-up bonus, supper club dinners, and other exclusive events.
Companies also get free access to pry, Brex’s financial forecasting and scenario planning platform that it acquired several months ago for $90 million. The service is provided to businesses only for the duration of the accelerator program, which is three months.
Thus, the corporate spending company is bringing in generations of current and future accelerator batch startups from around the world as part of this deal. And while it can increase the number of users, Dubugras admits it’s a game of acquiring customers with the hope of potential benefit.
“If you look at the Brex acquisition cost to get a startup; if they fail in Series A, we lose money “when we look at how much revenue is generated for us versus how much it costs to acquire the customer,” explains Dubugras. “If [the startup gets to] Serie B or Serie D, we make a lot of money.”
The move sounds different, given Brex’s announcement in April that it is leaning more towards the enterprise segment and less towards small businesses or non-professionally funded startups.
Sure enough, Dubugras did say that Brex is picky about who it works with. “It only makes sense because some startups graduate and become bigger companies… we don’t partner with an accelerator because if they don’t have a track record of delivering good companies, it might be a non-profit relationship.”
While it’s a bit of a long game, partnerships also help Brex get a leg up on the competition, including the richly funded and formidable Ramp, as well as some newer players in the corporate credit card space like Stripe and Rippling. After all, fintech companies are always looking for trickier ways to stay on a customer’s radar. So far, 80% of Y Combinator companies are using Brex; we’ll see if the same adoption holds true for Techstars.