Unsurprisingly, 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 that caught our eye was that at least four startups – from three different regions – referred to themselves as the “Brex for” their particular geography.
For the unacquainted, Brex is a corporate spend company that recently became a decacorn when it raised $300 million at a $12.3 billion valuation. Brex started its life focused on providing corporate cards aimed mainly at startups and SMBs. It gradually evolved its model with the aim of serving as a one-stop finance 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 started by two Brazilian-born former teen hackers who were just 22 years old when Brex came to be valued at over $1 billion.
The success of Brex has been mirrored by some of its competitors. Ramp has scaled its spend volume massively since launch, also attracting huge sheaves of cash in the process. Airbase has taken a slightly different tack on the space, with a focus on SaaS over transaction incomes, while TripActions pivoted into corporate spend from an original nexus in the business travel market. Meanwhile, Pluto recently raised funding to become the “Ramp for the Middle East.”
That the U.S. market can support so many competing startups provides context on the size of the market up for grabs. Other countries and regions could prove similar, and startups are taking note, with a number around the world looking to join the corporate spend race: