Scale AI scales faster with Brex Empower.
Scale AI is a fast-growing company on a mission to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence. They’ve built a data-centric solution for managing the entire machine learning lifecycle, and it’s used by leaders like Microsoft, Toyota, Instacart, PayPal, and Flexport.
Scale AI was founded in 2016 and graduated from Y Combinator’s Summer batch that year — since then it has grown to over 700 employees across the country and globally.
Starting with a team of four and a big dream to revolutionize AI, Scale AI wanted a one-stop shop for banking, corporate cards, and spend management that would help them grow their startup quickly and sustainably.
They also wanted a future-proof solution that would scale with them and suit their goals at every stage of growth, helping them innovate quickly and cost-effectively no matter how big their team got — or how many international markets they expanded into.
“As we grew, we wanted to enable employees to move fast and make decisions and not be blocked by chains of approval.”
— Alexandr Wang, founder and CEO, Scale AI
Scale initially chose Brex for a startup-friendly banking alternative and corporate card with no personal guarantee. With access to capital, the ability to send free ACH and wires worldwide, FDIC-insured deposits, and a five-star mobile app, Scale was able to spend and grow fast.
However, as Scale grew, they were concerned about slowing down the pace of business. “As we grew, we wanted to be able to enable employees to move fast and make decisions and not be blocked by chains of approval that take a long time,” says Alexandr Wang, founder and CEO of Scale AI.
To ensure speed while boosting control and accountability, Scale upgraded to Brex Empower to add spend management software that’s designed to deliver compliance worldwide and at scale.
“What I love about Brex is that they recognize that companies get too bureaucratic as they get bigger and can’t do their best work. They really solved that in building Empower,” says Alexandr. “The Empower platform’s trust and verify model allows everyone to move quickly, while giving the org the control it needs.”
Scale AI’s latest stage of growth involves scaling into new global geographies. “We’ve been growing a lot internationally. Brex has really been an enabler because it’s a global platform,” says Alexandr. Empower delivers global card acceptance, reimbursements in local currencies, and multi-currency visibility in a single system for global spend.
“We’ve been with Brex since our early startup days. They’ve helped us grow, and have grown with us,” says Alexandr. And with Empower, Scale AI now has an end-to-end solution for global spending that drives speed and compliance.
Scale’s finance team and managers use the platform’s budgets and nested budgets to enable employees to spend responsibly in 100+ countries. They pre-approve spending for specific purposes, trust that employees are empowered to do the right thing, and manage by exception with spend alerts for any out-of-policy or suspicious spend.
“We started with just the card, and then we went to card and light budgeting. Now we are using nested budgets. We added flags for certain levels or kinds of spend. The team loves it,” says Alexandr.
“We’ve been with Brex since our early startup days. They’ve helped us grow from a few employees to over 700, and have grown with us."
— Alexandr Wang, founder and CEO, Scale AI
The extra layers of approvals that once slowed down Scale AI are no longer an issue. “Most people want to make the right decision for the company. Most people aren’t trying to go out of policy or do bad things. Empower is built on that,” says Alexandr. The trust and verify approach also gives Scale added confidence in today’s macro environment.
As some companies are pulling back on spend, Scale AI uses Empower to spend strategically without slowing down or policing every line item, because Empower has enabled a culture of financial discipline and accountability. And with the added visibility across global spend, Scale AI feels empowered to keep growing even in a volatile macro environment. “We can find ways to be creative in this market and climate,” says Alexandr.