Brex has been steadily increasing its partnerships with startup aggregators over time, such as Y Combinator and AngelList. Today, as per its latest announcement, it inked a new deal with Techstars.
Brex CEO and co-founder Henrique Dubugras compared his company’s strategy to that of Stripe, “if you can get companies in the inception, you act like a venture capitalist.” Techstars accelerator companies will now get access to a variety of benefits from Brex, including a platform support team, a sign-up bonus for its program, supper club dinners and other exclusive events.
Companies will also get free access to Pry, Brex’s financial forecasting and scenario planning platform that it acquired for $90 million just months ago. The service will only be given to companies for the duration of the accelerator program, which is three months.
The corporate spending company thus is bringing on generations of current and future accelerator batch startups from around the world as part of this deal. And while it may increase the number of users, Dubugras admits that it’s a customer acquisition play with the hope of potential upside.
“If you look at Brex’s cost of acquisition to get a startup; if they fail at Series A, we lose money when looking at how much revenue is generated for us versus how much it cost to acquire the customer,” Dubugras explained. “If [the startup gets to] Series B or Series D, we make a lot of money.”
The move rings differently considering Brex’s April announcement that it was leaning more into the enterprise segment, and less into small businesses or non-professionally funded startups.
Sure enough, Dubugras did say that Brex is picky about who it works with. “It only makes sense because some of the startups do graduate and become larger companies…we don’t partner with any accelerator because if they don’t have a track record of delivering good companies, maybe it’s a nonprofit relationship.”
While it’s a bit of a long-game play, partnerships also help Brex get an upper edge on competition, which includes the richly funded and formidable Ramp, as well as a number of newer players in the corporate credit card space like Stripe and Rippling. After all, fintech companies are always looking for stickier ways to stay on a customer’s radar. So far, 80% of Y Combinator companies use Brex; we’ll see if the same adoption rings true for Techstars.