🚀 The Winter '24 Release is here — with smarter bill pay, spend limits, and more >

Blog

Building Brex

People matter mo...

Journal Home

BB-Jason-Mok
BB-Jason-Mok

People matter most — insights from a startups insider

A Q&A with Jason Mok on startups, community, and his plans for Brex


JMok-article-image
JMok-article-image

People matter most — insights from a startups insider

A Q&A with Jason Mok on startups, community, and his plans for Brex


People matter most — insights from a startups insider

A Q&A with Jason Mok on startups, community, and his plans for Brex

JMok-article-image
JMok-article-image
Jason-Mok-small
Jason-Mok-small

Q&A with

Jason Mok

Brex is tirelessly committed to supporting startups from idea to IPO and beyond, and we wanted to share some reflections and insights from the man leading the charge — Jason Mok. Having recently joined Brex, Jason is focused on helping startups navigate today’s macroeconomic environment and banking volatility as well as transformative technologies like generative AI. His near-term plans for Brex include establishing regional ambassadors in key tech hubs and offering new discounts and credits on the most valuable AI tools for startups.

Learn about Jason’s long history in the startup and VC ecosystem (it began when he still had homework), his lessons learned, and his advice to future founders in our Q&A below.

What's one thing people don't know about you?

While people likely know that I worked at Silicon Valley Bank for 16+ years, people likely don't know that my father also actually worked at SVB in its earlier years when I was a kid growing up after school. Most days, I would get dropped off at SVB to do my homework there in the kitchen and then hang around until my father finished at work. Fast forward a few years, and my father was ultimately recruited out by a venture capital firm and then started his own. So for me, I was immersed growing up in startups and venture capital. And from this vantage point, fortunately, I was able to see what worked, what didn't work — the good, the bad, and the ugly, the good times and the bad. And for me that really set the foundation for my own journey, who I am and why I do what I do.

How did you feel during the SVB failure?

Watching SVB fail was heartbreaking. It was like watching a tragedy with so many close friends, clients, and employees I've known for so many years. I felt helpless, like everyone else, waiting for the rubble to settle before any of us could jump in to find resolutions. It was a massive gut punch. SVB was key to my upbringing and a huge part of my career and my identity, and to watch it all collapse in 48 hours definitely touched on a lot of different emotions. It was beautiful to see many of its competitors extend lifelines to affected clients and specifically, it was awesome to watch Brex step up in the way that it did in addition to bridging affected clients, moving $200 million of its own cash over to SVB as a sign of support. It really, really, really inspired me, and it's what kickstarted conversations with Brex and was the impetus for me to join and be a part of the solution.

What are your biggest learnings from your time at  Andreessen Horowitz?

I love this question. I have a ton of learnings to share, but for now, I'm going to choose one, and that is that people matter the most. You can have an amazing product, the right go-to-market strategy, great marketing — but if you don't have the right people or you're not investing in them, then your success has its limitations.

"Today, Brex offers the full financial stack for startup needs and more. We're here to be your strategic financial partner and to provide business accounts to manage your operating cash."

Brex started as the corporate card for startups. How is Brex serving startups today?

Today, Brex offers the full financial stack for startup needs and more. We're here to be your strategic financial partner and to provide business accounts to manage your operating cash. It could be split across $6 million of the FDIC insurance coverage and/or money market funds that offer super competitive yields. We have credit cards, bill pay, expense management, and travel as your org scales and grows globally.

What’s the first thing on your to-do list as you head up the startups organization at Brex?

Remember how I said people matter the most? So we're going to have Brex ambassadors physically located in key startup geos like SF, New York, Boston, LA, Miami, and Austin. These senior leaders are going to be serving as a strategic financial partner to help startups scale their companies, advising on the full financial stack of products.

What has the team shipped in the last few months, and what are some things the team is working on that you can share?

Right now, we're really focused on delivering for the customers that came over from SVB as well as building out for future founder needs. As a result, we've updated our FDIC insurance coverage to $6 million. We've also rolled out a dashboard to help better manage multiple banking relationships — given that's the new world. We've also included dollar transfer features so that you could move cash around different accounts, including Brex.

"We've seen a tremendous number of AI companies onboard with Brex. In fact, in the past six months, we've seen a roughly 70% increase in the number of AI companies joining us."

What is one startup trend you think is here to stay?

I mean, it’s got to be AI. We’ve seen a tremendous number of AI companies onboard with Brex. In fact, in the past six months, we’ve seen a roughly 70% increase in the number of AI companies joining us. And Brex has been at the forefront of leveraging AI to modernize financial products and workflows from day one.

Given this long-term trend, we’re committed to providing a new suite of discounts and offers on the most valuable AI tools and systems that help startups grow their business, including a discount on Builder.ai® Studio Store®, Fireflies, Notion, StatSig and others, plus $2,500 in OpenAI API credits and access Scale AI.

We want to ensure our customers can tap into AI as a part of unlocking their own potential!

What’s your POV on the different startup city hubs? Which city do you think has the liveliest founder scene?

I personally think it's really important for all the different startup city hubs to thrive. I really do. And I don't think it's a competition — right now, it feels like SF is lively given developments in AI. And then as you move to New York, you've got fintech and enterprise. And you go to Boston, you've got biotech, and then go to LA, and you've got the creator economy. I can’t pick a favorite — they are all lively, and we want to serve them all.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is founding a company tomorrow, what would it be?

I mentioned this earlier, and I'll say it again: people matter. And so for a founder who is starting a company tomorrow, everything from your co-founder to your first few hires — those people matter. Do you trust them? It really works against you to change these things out later. Surrounding yourself with the right people early on supports your success.

Why join Brex now?

I truly believe that SVB left a massive hole in the startup ecosystem for what founders need to build and scale their companies. I also truly believe that Brex is best positioned to fill that hole with the people, products, and platform here. And for me, this was an amazing opportunity to come build and support founders and the greater startup community.

Let’s keep the conversation going

Want to hear more from Jason, ask a question, or get connected? Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin. To open an account or talk about how Brex can serve you at every stage of growth, get started here.

bottom-cta-bg
bottom-cta-bg
Closed-loop-dark
Closed-loop-dark

See what Brex can do for you.

Learn how our spend platform can increase the strategic impact of your finance team and future-proof your company.

Contact salesOpen an account

Related articles

brex-rippling-preview

Rippling Integration

Brex and Rippling are even better together with first-of-its-kind features to drive employee compliance and efficient spending, all in one place.