April 4, 2019

How Brex Became a B2B Unicorn

Silicon Valley is home to thousands of B2B startups—and one of the the newest B2B  unicorns. Brex offers a corporate credit card more built around the ever-changing needs of a startup, and they’ve been valued at over $1 billion. One of the secrets? Champagne and chocolate.

Brex’s overall success has tied heavily into their bold marketing, and on this episode of RTU, Chief Sales Officer Sam Blond, and CFO/CMO Michael Tannenbaum, discuss it in detail. From identifying your targets, to orchestrating outdoor campaigns, to in-depth attribution models, Brex has been firing on all cylinders. Listen in to learn more.

What You’ll Learn

How Brex found its current market

Brex is located in Silicon Valley, where there are thousands of B2B startups. Brex’s founders stumbled upon the painfulness of managing corporate credit cards when they could not get a credit card for one of their own new businesses. Their experience demonstrated a business opportunity and a marketplace in the niche of corporate cards for startups. Typically, founders of startups have to personally guarantee a corporate card. Even with millions of dollars in the bank, these businesses would have 20k-30k spending limits placed on them that were nowhere high enough to support the spending of a company. Brex instead uses a business’s bank accounts and bank activity to determine the spending limits on corporate cards. Michael and Sam point out that startups move and grow too quickly to have spending limits determined on a yearly basis, so Brex is constantly evaluating what a business needs and what limits will be. Their business model has resonated especially with tech startups and B2B businesses in Silicon Valley.

Why outdoor marketing works

To launch its company, Brex turned to outdoor marketing. With already 100 clients prior to launch, Brex knew it had a good story to tell with a large impact for startups. They wanted to maximize the one time impact of the company’s launch. With a highly targeted market of startups concentrated in the San Francisco area, they purchased as much outdoor inventory as they could. Brex flooded the market with billboards informing the public that they were the first corporate credit card for startups. Outdoor marketing allowed them to go broader and reach a larger number of people.

Brex’s unique email campaign

Prior to working with Brex, Sam had lots of experiencing testing outbound email copy. For Brex’s unique email campaign, they coupled creative email copy with Brazilian chocolates or champagne. Brex was able to research companies that seemed like a good fit for their corporate card. Then, they targeted specific CFO’s in the Bay area to receive these gifts with an email from Brex shortly after. There was a combination of these emails and outdoor marketing to continue to get the word out there that there was an alternative to the current idea of a corporate credit card.

Connect With Michael Tannenbaum & Sam Blond:

  • Connect with Michael Tannenbaum on LinkedIn
  • Connect with Sam Blond on LinkedIn

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drew

Quotes from Michael Tannenbaum, CMO/CFO, Sam Blonde, Chief Sales Officer

"One of things anyone in marketing will tell you is: listen to your customers, see what they're saying."
"I think we were, from a tech perspective, really a pioneer in flooding San Francisco with these billboards."