By Tanaya Macheel
Brex, the start-up that provides credit cards for start-ups, has created a rewards program for its customers that awards points for spending on ride-sharing, software, travel, and dining, as well as offers from partners like AWS, Salesforce, and WeWork.
Brex aims to service early stage start-ups, which tend to have difficulty getting corporate credit cards because of their lack of revenue — similar to how consumers tend to have trouble being approved for credit cards before they’ve established any credit. The issue often forces founders to use personal credit cards to fund their businesses. Brex extends them a line of credit based on their corporate bank account balances.
CEO Henrique Dubugras called it a "niche program" that may not necessarily be best for every startup but is competitive for tech companies specifically, in a recent conversation with Cheddar. He shared the details on Product Hunt late Monday.
The new points system earns users a point per dollar with no cap on rewards, plus multipliers of seven for every dollar spent on ride-sharing companies, three for travel and dining and two for software, allowing companies to earn more than $25,000 back from partner offers including Amazon's ($AMZN) AWS, Salesforce ($CRM), and WeWork.
The company claims an average startup can earn at least 20 percent more with the Brex Exclusive card than with competitor cards. A comparison table on the Brex Rewards website shows the card’s value against AmEx’s ($AXP) SimplyCash Plus and Business Gold Rewards cards; the Chase Ink Business cards and Capital One’s ($COF) Spark card.
Dubugras told Cheddar on background that with its most recent funding, he is confident Brex can take on industry goliaths like AmEx. Previously, young startups tended to find a sliver of the market or just the right angle so as not to step on the toes of larger companies with incomparable scale that they might need, he said.
The two-year-old Brex is something of a darling among startup lending companies. Earlier this month it raised $125 million with a $1.1 billion valuation ー following a $57 million Series B round it raised in June from investors including PayPal ($PYPL) Mafia members Peter Thiel and Max Levchin. Ribbit Capital, Y Combinator Continuity, Facebook ($FB) investor Yuri Milner, and former Visa ($V) CEO Carl Pascarella are also investors.
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