A world where value can be created from everywhere
Our co-founder and co-CEO Henrique Dubugras is in Davos for the 2023 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and sat down with veteran reporter Rosanna Lockwood to discuss globalization and economic opportunity. Catch Henrique’s insights on the future of global business in the full interview and below.
The future got here fast.
It’s been a rapidly transformative few years for the world. The Covid-19 pandemic permanently altered the way we live and work, with teams and talent now working remotely in all corners of the globe more than ever before.
Employers have had to fundamentally change the way they manage everything to do with the workforce, including managing their finances. And they’ve had to change it fast. The problem? Most financial solutions are at odds with this new reality.
While this acceleration of change — and the reason for it — could not have been predicted, Brex has been ready. We have long envisioned a world of distributed work, borderless business, and automation and have reimagined financial systems to enable it.
Back in 2017, we saw tech companies and immigrant founders, even with millions in the bank, unable to get a corporate card simply because they weren’t established in the US. In fact, we were one of them. So we built the first corporate card for all startups to help democratize opportunity.
We’ve grown to now also offer an alternative banking solution for startups and revolutionary spend management software for all sizes of companies around the world — launching Brex Empower globally in 2022. The future of finance is already here.
Empowering employees anywhere to make better financial decisions.
In a distributed world, global companies can find it even harder to entrust employees, to enable their spending — simply because employees are often out of sight, and most cards and software aren’t built to operate securely across currencies and time zones.
And US-based systems and processes can start to break down in different geographies. Even worse, companies need to manage a wide range of currencies, tax requirements, and payment rails in each market. This added complexity has only increased bureaucracy around spending, which slows down the company, diminishing efficiency and ROI.
So we built Brex Empower to replace excessive layers of oversight with proactive built-in controls, and deliver a globally consistent corporate card and spend management solution that empowers employees anywhere to make better financial decisions.
We make it easier to manage today’s new ways of spending like WFH stipends, wellness stipends, and team offsites. And we give employees a consumer-grade experience with one globally accepted card and a five-star mobile app. No receipts, no memos, no finance team calling about expense reports.
We’re enabling financial coordination across teams and geographies, much like what Slack has done for company communications and Google Docs for documentation.
“We built Empower to deliver a globally consistent card and spend management solution that empowers employees anywhere to make better financial decisions.”
— Henrique Dubugras, co-founder and co-CEO at Brex
Enabling money to have the greatest impact.
Legacy tools like Amex cards and Concur software, which Brex replaces, were built to address only one thing: overspending. But when every person in a company has to go through massive amounts of bureaucracy just to achieve compliance, you’re seriously hindering your company’s ability to compete and win.
The strategic role of a finance team is to enable the growth of the business. You’re not trying to cut or halt spending; you’re trying to make sure that spending is going to the places where it can have the most impact for the company.
So a big part of our focus is making compliance easy and then going a layer above that to enable impact. How can we make sure you can track ROI on the company spend? Was the marketing event worth it? Did the sales meeting generate ROI? Brex solves for that.
A world where value can be created from everywhere.
We see a bigger impact to this disruption beyond increasing efficiency and financial discipline at growing companies. We’re helping to fulfill our company vision of a world where value can be created from everywhere.
Every company realized during Covid that talent is not in one place, not just in New York or San Francisco. Hiring in many locations gets you the best talent and diversity of thought — and saves you money — whether your business is hybrid, remote, or in person.
And the more companies can operate globally, the better it is for the world. The more jobs we can help facilitate in other countries, the more value we can bring to communities and economies. Say you hire engineers in Brazil, you give them an opportunity to learn the playbooks of Silicon Valley and share that with the Brazilian and global ecosystems.
You can get access to great talent that’s cheaper and help enable a better lifestyle for people outside of concentrated cities. It’s a win-win.
Cooperation in a fragmented world.
This year’s World Economic Forum’s theme of “cooperation in a fragmented world” is incredibly important to Brex as we are building financial systems that connect global businesses and employees and help enable economic opportunity anywhere.
My own experience speaks to the fading geographical limitations on opportunity. I immigrated to the US from Brazil because I needed to be here. Silicon Valley was a physical place where tech innovation happened, and you had to have the resources to get there or you were shut out.
Today, we’re building solutions that break down those walls, enabling connection and collaboration globally — and helping build a world where regardless of where you’re born, you have the same economic opportunity as the most privileged places in the world.