Pedro Franceschi knew that to make it big in the tech world, he had to make big moves -- including uprooting his life in Brazil. 

In 2017, he and his business partner, Henrique Dubugras, moved to Silicon Valley and created Brex, a corporate credit card company for entrepreneurs.

Fast forward and their startup is now a unicorn business, currently valued at $2.6 billion.

Did we mention that Pedro is only 23 years old? 

Here, discover 10 facts about Brex founder Pedro Franceschi and his entrepreneurial journey.

1. The name Brex was strategically chosen. 

Many startups spend copious amounts of time trying to build their company name around their product, but Pedro and Henrique had a different strategy. 

They wanted something that was simple and easy to remember, so they turned to a name-generating website to find what worked best. 

After discovering the name, Brex, they stuck with it.

Since choosing the name though, many people have made lighthearted jokes about the word's meaning, connecting it to "Brazilian Express" and "Brexit."

"There's a slack channel for Brex jokes in our company," Pedro said at the Grind Global Conference, laughing.

2. He has been working with tech since he was a kid. 

While other children are learning how to ride a bike or taking up a sport, Pedro was jailbreaking iPhones. 

He recalls beginning to code when he was only eight or nine years old, wanting to learn how to control computers. 

Thanks to tech books and Google, the young coder used his new skills to jailbreak iPhones that otherwise wouldn't work in his home country of Brazil. 

That's when he became known as "the kid who was jailbreaking iPhones in Rio," Pedro said during the Grind Global Conference. 

His hobby didn't last for long, though, as he began to violate Apple's language patents after translating Siri from English to Portuguese. 

3. Brex is not Pedro and Henrique's first business venture. 

During the Grind Global Conference, Pedro said that he and Henrique knew Brex wasn't a revolutionary idea -- it was just tough to execute. 

Thankfully, the pair had built a financial startup together before, called Pagar.me, giving them the knowledge and footing they needed to create Brex. 

That's why he encourages all aspiring entrepreneurs to analyze their own skills before diving into a new project. 

"Make sure that you build something that leverages your previous experience," said Pedro.

4. Pedro applied to Stanford University on a whim. 

Stanford, ranked No. 7 among national universities by U.S. News, hadn't been on Pedro's radar until Henrique encouraged him to apply. 

In 2013, Pedro was living in Rio and busy with 

Stanford University is one of the best schools in the world, but it wasn't something that had intrigued him until Henrique encouraged him to apply. 

In 2013, Pedro was living in Rio and completely bootstrapping another company when Henrique convinced him to apply two months before the university's application closed. 

Pedro admitted that applying to college in America, along with running his business, made 2013 a very stressful year. 

Both him and Henrique got into Stanford, but ended up dropping out six months later after starting Brex.

5. The idea for Brex came out of a dinner conversation. 

Before Brex, Pedro and Henrique had been given funding and support by the tech investor, Y Combinator, for a virtual reality company. 

But it was at the company's office that the two friends were given the idea for a corporate credit card, said Pedro in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. 

He and Henrique were dining with other entrepreneurs and learned that many of the startups constantly struggled with funding. 

This is when the wheels started turning for the two young techies and Brex was born soon after.

6. In two years, Pedro became a multimillionaire. 

Thanks to Brex, both he and Henrique were able to accomplish their American Dream. 

According to The New York Times, the founders are worth close to $430 million while their business has an estimated value of $2.6 billion. 

7. It's important to find your synergy, says Pedro. 

In an article written by Pedro on The Next Web, he emphasizes how startups should focus on helping their own customers first before trying to expand their business. 

"When you're building your next offering, it's not always about having a brilliant new idea or reinventing the wheel," he said. 

"Instead, you should be asking yourself, how can I better serve my customers? What would make their lives easier?"

8. He's one of the top people to watch in finance. 

In 2019, Forbes recognized just how valuable Pedro and Henrique's skill set and company has become. 

The two co-founders were listed on Forbes "30 under 30" list, which highlights the best entrepreneurs in the world. 

He and Henrique were also joined on the list by vice presidents of J.P Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

9. He's always focused on what's important. 

Although other successful entrepreneurs, like the co-founders of PayPal, invested in Brex early on, the company's ongoing success is reliant on discipline. 

Pedro told The New York Times that, especially in Silicon Valley, "it's easy for you to kind of get your feet off the ground and forget what matters."

10. Pedro built Brex by focusing on singular issues.  

A great way to make a business succeed is to build out one section at a time, said Pedro. 

That's how he and Henrique worked when starting Brex. 

"When you're building a corporate card, a lot of people are like, 'I want all of these features' ... but the only thing that matters in the beginning is that the card has to work 100 percent of the time," he said during a conference. 

Published on: Aug 20, 2019
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