It all started with a legal threat from Apple from jailbreaking a phone. It ended with a $2.6B business, built in two years by two Brazilian college dropouts.
A little over a year ago, Pedro Franceschi and Henrique Dubugras, then 22, announced a $125M Series C for Brex, a payment business, securing them a $1.1B valuation.
Then just last summer, the pair raised an additional $100M, bringing the valuation to $2.6B.
“Brex is … one of the most exciting starts we’ve ever seen,” venture capitalist and investor Somesh Dash said in a statement.
This feat made the duo the youngest unicorn founders in history, as well as one of the fastest-growing companies in history. Brex was founded in the winter of 2017. And it only launched publicly in June 2018.
How did that happen?!
Unsurprisingly, both Brazilian-born young men grew up coding and it has fueled their success.
Pedro became the first person to jailbreak the iPhone 3G and later helped bring Siri—Apple’s voice assistance—into the Portuguese language.
At 14, he had already built a successful online game but was forced to shut it down once Apple came knocking with threatening legal letters.
“I’ve had two failed attempts, one successful attempt and one on the way to being a successful attempt,” CEO Henrique Dubugras told TechCrunch in an interview.
While Pedro was getting sued by Apple before hitting puberty, Henrique was programming video games and coding at 12 and later went on to meet Henrique on Twitter.
When both were 16, they founded Pagar.me, which was the first developer-friendly payments processor to be introduced to Brazil.
They went on to raise $30M and grew a team of over 100 people before selling the company. They then enrolled in Stanford University, spending just eight months there.
“We wanted to come to Silicon Valley to build stuff because everything here seemed so big and so cool,” Dubugras said.
Before leaving, the co-founders were under the impression the payment problems they had addressed for Brazil didn’t exist in the US. So they aimed to start a virtual reality startup instead called Beyond, later entering YCombinator.
“I think three weeks in we gave it up,” Dubugras said. “We realized we aren’t the right founders to start this business.”
Instead, the duo decided to do what they were good at—payments. So, they pivoted and used their experience to form Brex, a company that issues corporate cards for startups in the tech space.
YC gave them a $120K seed investment to back their vision, and they went on to collaborate with Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, PayPal’s co-founders, and two giants in the payment space.
So what does Brex do exactly?
In a nutshell, Brex is a system for founders. One, it provides businesses a consolidated look at their spending. At the end of each month, for example, a CEO can easily see how much the entire company spent on Uber.
In addition, Brex can give entrepreneurs a credit limit up to 10 times what they’d receive through traditional channels. Brex also issues virtual credit cards moments after completing an online application.
“We have a very similar effect of what Stripe had in the beginning, but much faster because Silicon Valley companies are very good at spending money but making money is harder,” Dubugras explained.
The idea has proven beyond viable, with the company increasing its monthly revenue sixfold in the short time between October 2018 and June 2019, and they show no signs of slowing down.
So what’s next?
According to the founders, Brex will launch a rewards program built with the needs and spending patterns of founders in mind. Next, the goal is to figure out how to grow the business’s client base beyond only tech startups.
“We want to dominate corporate credit cards,” Dubugras said. “We want every single company in the world, whenever they do businesses expenses, to do it on a Brex card.”
Featured Image Credit: Brex
How Big Real Estate Moguls Avoid Taxes (And How You Can, Too) 👀
I was looking around Google for an old article on tax strategies and this five-year old video of myself happened to pop up.
I’m interviewing a tax expert about how real estate investors avoid paying taxes in perpetuity—AND how everyday citizens can do the same thing.
There’s the 1031 exchange, of course, which I’ve shared with you guys before.
Just to refresh your memory, the 1031 Exchange allows you to roll over gains from your last project into a new property TAX FREE—as long as said property is worth the same or more.
But there’s ANOTHER TAX LOOPHOLE that can take your portfolio to an entirely new level by splitting your capital gains into MULTIPLE properties.
So I thought I’d share it with you guys. 💎
You can check it out here.
Let me know what you think. 😎
PS: In our next update, I’m going to break down how real estate moguls get paid from their properties…tax free. 👀
PPS: If you want to learn how to implement generational wealth strategies like this one, you can join our NYCE wealth academy (TRIBE U) here.
How I run a $300M+ business from the beach…(and how you can TOO!)
Yes, you read that right.
If there’s anything the pandemic taught us, it’s that the paradigm of “office” and “workspace” has been shaken to its CORE.
Universities are teaching via Zoom, court dates are done virtually, FULLY REMOTE businesses are valued at $1B+, and legitimate Inc. 5000 startups are run from…wherever. 📲
This is my office for the day…
I am actually running our business from the beach, typing this from here.
It’s 4:28 pm CET, which means it’s 10:28 am EST and I am CRUSHING my to-do list.
(And the team will continue to crush it while I’m asleep. That’s the 🗝)
So how did we get here?
As a result, we shut down our main office and set EVERYTHING up to run remotely…
SMOOTHLY! And a system that allows us to outperform competition by 200%. (You can build this system, too. More on this in a second.)
Here’s what we were able to do since then:
- Gained 6M+ followers across all platforms 📈
- Add 1500+ new apartments to the portfolio 🤑
- Grow to $300M in real estate 🚀
- 105% investor returns 🎉
- 700K+ community members 🤝
And here’s the best part…
Having team members in all the main time zones gives us a 24-hour work cycle vs. 9-5/eight-hour on-the-clock performance.
This means we get 3x the productivity of a similar company. 🔥
Let me repeat that…3x PRODUCTIVITY vs. our competitors.
Meanwhile our project management software grants us 24-hour TEAM-WIDE connectivity that tracks all tasks and lets us know if productivity dips even a little bit.
There is ALWAYS someone senior awake. It could be Martin in Barcelona…Nat in New York…Vineet & Arif in New Delhi.
All the while giving YOU GUYS wealth hacks and daily content. 🔥
OK, so how can you do it?!
Well, the first step is to have an actual side hustle you’re launching. Not just an idea, a validated business.
MAJOR KEY: Do NOT spend money until you’ve made your FIRST DOLLAR! 🗝🗝🗝🗝
(You can catch a replay Business Launch masterclass here and see TRIBE member Nessa launched her business on the spot and got her first $45K client shortly after.)
One of the easiest ways to start is with Airbnb—you can start that in 10 minutes. Literally. (Here’s a guide if you need it.)
Once you have your business, you build a virtual infrastructure (you really just need two softwares, which are FREE), manage the team accordingly and run the business from there.
I’m gonna put together a step-by-step video breakdown this weekend inside the new TRIBE U on the FIVE key things you need to do this for YOURSELF. 💵 💎
From what software to use, how to build a team, how to keep.
In the meantime, drop a comment if you’re ready to build some wealth and any questions if you want more…
Let’s get to work. 🙌
EXCLUSIVE Q&A: This 26-Year Old Made $100K From Her IG In 90 Days. Here’s How She Did It 👀
Yes, it’s a pandemic. Yes, the economy is down. Yet, some entrepreneurs have found opportunity in the “new normal” (whatever that means).
In the public markets, FAANGs are booming: Amazon and Netflix are up dramatically, fueled by the need for home entertainment…and shopping.
One of them is Ariel Adams, a 26-year-old South Virginia-based realtor. In April, at the height of the lockdown, she had exactly 1000 followers on Instagram.
Fast forward to today, she’s attracted over 100K followers, has made $100K in online sales (again, during the pandemic), and is now showing others how to do the same.
We sat down with Ariel to discuss how she made $100K in 90 days, what she sold, how she got her first customer, and how you can, too.
Let’s get right to it. You work in real estate but were able to make $100,000 from your IG in three months. Let’s start with the product. What did you sell?
Yes, that’s correct. I was shocked myself! My sales came from my digital products, mainly my e-book From Instagram to Instant Money. My e-book dives into how you can optimize your Instagram profile to grow a following and sell your own product. I talk to the Instagram algorithm and how to beat it to ultimately monetize the platform. My other digital product is my course How to $ave Like the Wealthy. As a realtor, I would receive a lot of questions in regards to saving up for a down payment on a home. I decided to create a video outlining the best way to save money and accumulate wealth. Both of those products got me to six figures!
How did you secure your first orders? Who were your buyers?
My sales came from my following. I would collaborate with other brands with significant followings and post my product on their page. This drew in a lot of traffic to my products and also pushed me to 100k followers on Instagram. My buyers were typically people looking to earn passive income by selling a product or service through Instagram.
Was the objective of your advertising to gain followers and sell later? Or did that just happen as a byproduct of people buying your courses?
I never was trying to gain followers, I was always trying to sell. I think people would see my ad, go to my page, and then turn into a follower because I always provide valuable content on my page. My Instagram consists of personal finance infographics, real estate tips, and inspirational quotes. I think people naturally gravitated toward that and I was able to retain and gain followers.
How do you consistently market it? Is this a model anyone can use?
I try to set up placements on these bigger Instagram pages 2-3 times a week. I aim for business pages, women-owned business pages, and black business pages. My product resonates well with entrepreneurs looking to scale their business through IG. It is absolutely a model anyone can use. I recommend following the other steps I speak to in my e-book. This will ensure the most success.
Most aren’t aware that partnerships can literally boost your business. How did you come up with the idea of collaboration and what made you target those pages exactly?
Being savvy to Instagram, I was always aware of Influencer Marketing. A lot of people think that’s just girls posting brands to their million or so followers, but it includes placements with ANY brand that has a substantial following. I knew this was a key to success. Collaboration on bigger platforms would be the most helpful for my brand. I targeted people I thought would be interested in my product; women CEOs, entrepreneurs, e-commerce enthusiasts, etc. I made sure to stay within that niche.
How did you come up with this idea?
I was inspired by other online entrepreneurs. I saw them making thousands online and I thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that.” So I decided to do it. I asked myself, “What am I skilled in? What can I teach people?” From my previous life managing artists in the music industry, I became an expert in Instagram. Combining what I studied at the University of Miami (Business) and my knowledge of Instagram, that’s what sparked my e-book on the subject.
What’s the number one advice you’d give someone who’s looking to make money for themselves but isn’t sure where to start?
My advice would be to write down what it is you’re good at. Brainstorm what skills you have. Maybe you have a passion for food? Good, create and sell a cookbook. Maybe you’re good at writing? You can become a freelance resume writer. We all have skills we can capitalize on. And if you need to learn how to market yourself, then Google is your best friend. Read, read, read. Self-educate and you will be on your way, and of course download my e-book to learn how to sell through Instagram!
How Big Real Estate Moguls Avoid Taxes (And How You Can, Too) 👀
How I run a $300M+ business from the beach…(and how you can TOO!)
Wealth-Building Conference Headed to Philly This Summer
How To Launch Your Business In 30 Days Or Less
EXCLUSIVE: This Entrepreneur Built A $7B Business Without Outside Funding. Here’s How He Did It
How Mark Cuban Invested $640k In A Company That Started…As A Prank
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