It is not surprising that fintech startups were well represented in Y Combinator’s W22 batch, with 35 international companies participating and 25 more tagged as crypto-focused. One trend we noticed was that at least four startups – from three different regions – referred to themselves as the ‘Brex for’ their specific geography.
For the unfamiliar, Brex is a corporate spending company that recently went decacorn when it raised $300 million at a valuation of $12.3 billion. Brex started life focused on providing corporate cards mainly targeting startups and SMBs. It gradually evolved its model with the aim of serving as a one-stop financing shop for these companies.
It competes in a hot and increasingly crowded space that also includes Ramp, Airbase, and TripActions, among others. Notably, the company was founded by two Brazilian-born former teenage hackers who were just 22 years old when Brex was valued at more than $1 billion.
Brex’s success has been mirrored by some of its competitors. Disaster has massively scaled up its spending volume since its launch, attracting huge amounts of money in the process as well. Airbase has taken a slightly different approach to the space, with a focus on SaaS over transactional revenue, while TripActions turned towards corporate spending from an original nexus in the corporate travel market. Meanwhile, Pluto recently raised money to become the “Middle East Disaster.”
That the US market can support so many competing startups provides context about the size of the market up for grabs. Other countries and regions could be similar, and startups are taking note, with some around the world looking to join the corporate spending race: