Insiders explain how $3 billion fintech unicorn Brex went from a $150 million raise to laying off 17% of its staff in a matter of days
- On May 29, Brex, a three-year-old
fintechthat had skyrocketed to a $3 billion valuation, laid off 62 members, or roughly 17%, of its staff. It had announced a $150 million fundraise less than two weeks prior.
- Among those cut was Paul-Henri Ferrand, Brex's recently hired COO, along with senior employees on the customer experience, compliance, and marketing teams.
- Insiders revealed a fast-growing company that was already grappling with employee turnover and aggressive financial targets in early 2020.
This story was originally published on June 10.
Early on the morning of May 29th, an email landed in the inbox of members of Brex's customer-experience team.The note, sent from a manager's address, explained how difficult the recent meeting had been and how, unfortunately, some members of the team would be let go. Those who were safe would receive a separate email, while those who would be let go would get a meeting invite, according to a recipient of the note who verbally described it to Business Insider.
The email was sent around 6:30 a.m. PST, according to one of the recipients of the note. The day was just getting underway for the team, which was spread across Brex's offices in San Francisco, Salt Lake Valley, Utah, and Vancouver.It didn't take long to understand layoffs were coming. The coronavirus had crippled much of the economy, and Brex, a startup offering corporate charge cards for early-stage companies, was no exception, despite raising $150 million a few weeks earlier at a $3 billion valuation.
A few hours later, an all-hands meeting appeared on all Brex employees' calendars. By 11 a.m. PST co-founder Pedro Franceschi addressed his 400-plus employees. Brex was laying off 62 people.Business Insider talked to eight current and former employees to learn more about the run-up to the layoffs and how the cuts went down. In July, Brex added FDIC insurance to its bank account-like Brex Cash service. The fintech also announced Katie Biber, who spent time at Airbnb and Thumbtack, had joined as its chief legal officer.
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