Fresh off last month’s massive $425M fundraise at a $7.4 billion valuation, Brex, an all-in-one financial services provider for small and medium-sized businesses, is launching one of the first crypto rewards programs for corporates.
With the new offering, Brex’s customers, most notably Airbnb, Classpass, a subscription service that provides access to numerous fitness studios, and startup accelerator Y Combinator, will be able to exchange Brex reward points for bitcoin and ether the same way they’d redeem them for miles, gift cards, cash, or travel.
Brex’s rewards partner, TravelBank, will power the zero-fee rewards redemption program, allowing users to input the amount of points they want to redeem for crypto that can then be transferred to a cryptocurrency wallet like Coinbase’s.
“We’ve always believed in crypto personally” says Henrique Dubugras, co-CEO and founder at Brex. But “the watershed moment for us was when Square, Tesla and a few other companies started buying crypto [and putting it] on their balance sheets,” signaling that “crypto is getting mainstream and we need to do something.”
Launched in 2017 as a corporate card provider for venture backed businesses, Brex has since expanded to offer small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as larger organizations an all-in-one finance management platform. Without disclosing the exact number of clients, the company says it onboards thousands of new customers every month. To date, Brex has raised over $940 million in venture capital from Tiger Global, Y Combinator Continuity and DST Global, among others.
A crypto offering could give Brex a notable element of differentiation from competitors that have also been growing at a staggering pace. Last month, Ramp received $115 million in funding at a $1.6 billion valuation. Another competitor, expense reporting startup for small businesses, Divvy, is in the process of being acquired by Bill.com, a cloud software-based platform for SMBs, for approximately $2.5 billion.
But crypto-native companies are already targeting this use case. BlockFi, Crypto.com and Gemini recently announced debit or credit cards with crypto rewards. Bakkt, a crypto venture of New York Stock Exchange-owner ICE, has been actively trying to advertise its all-in-one digital wallet, also supporting loyalty and rewards programs. In March, bitcoin rewards provider Lolli, whose notable partners include Nike, eBay and Sephora, raised a $5 million pre-Series funding from Alexis Ohanian and Serena Williams, among other notable investors. Though these products are retail consumer-oriented, the ever-innovating crypto companies may expand their offerings to businesses and find support among crypto-first clientele in the future.
But Dubugras believes Brex’s position as not a purely crypto platform is going to attract enterprises. “We support the needs of businesses across the board. We can serve as their primary cash management accountant, primary credit card or primary expense management software” versus being a crypto-only provider.
Editor’s note: Previous version of the story names Coinbase as Brex’s partner. Coinbase is not partnering with Brex on the offering. Clients can deposit rewards into crypto wallets like those offered by Coinbase.