Brax CEO Henrique Dubugras It is currently working to raise more than $1 billion by the end of the week to fund a disaster bridge line of credit that it believes will help startup customers affected by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank make payroll next week. Dubougras declined to comment on how much capital has been committed to the line of credit yet, but said he will return calls as he tries to lock in funds.
“We’re working with multiple lenders this weekend, basically to collect as much money as we can,” Dubougras said. So far, more than 500 applicants have applied for more than $1.3 billion in payday loans. “The same people who are asking for $1 billion have $10 billion in total deposits. [at SVB].
The founder’s interest is increasing every five minutes. And while Dubugras says the final closing is “TBD,” he says it’s “very likely” they’ll close some capital.
One question is if the terms of the deal are favorable to the founders or will the sharks come out as one entrepreneur pointed out to me today in disgust?
Brecks is not disclosing the terms of the deal, but said they will not make money on these loans. “That’s where we’re working to find out what the actual amount is, but think of it this way: There’s not a lot of information right now and to get over a billion dollars in a weekend, it’s not easy,” Dubougras said. “So, you know, I think we’re trying to see if we can come up with something that works for everybody.”
Another question is the quality of applicants. As one founder told TechCrunch yesterday, crowdsourcing is “the easiest way to invite fraud and get kicked out of the banking ecosystem.” Dubugras said the quality of SVB’s customer base is “very good.”
“Most of the customers we get are real startups with real businesses with real deposits — and they’re linking the data to their SVB account with real money,” he said. “We’re making sure these customers are real customers – that’s not what I’m worried about.”
“I hope the lesson for the industry is not, hey, if it’s a non-JP Morgan bank, it’s not safe. I think this would be disastrous for our ecosystem and for America,” he added. The lesson instead, Dubugras thinks, is to spread the concerns of the founders. “I think in my view the safest place for your money is not in a bank account, but in money market funds and cash management accounts, so that’s why we’re doing this at Brax.”
While Dubougras is focused on growth and Brax says he’s ready for the job and isn’t trying to get money from desperate founders, The company must ensure that it can eliminate this.
When SVB collapsed, Brex was seen as a formidable competitor looking to benefit from the cash flow. Sure enough, sources told TechCrunch that the fintech was getting billions of dollars in deposits. Then SVB closed the wires, and hours later, it was seized by the FDIC.
“Obviously the reason we do it is we want to support the community, that’s really important,” Dubougras said. “The business reason we’re doing this is because we’re paying off these loans and our business bills and hopefully people will stay with us after that.”
Dubugras isn’t the only tech executive rallying to extend loans to founders. Another CEO is working to raise money for emergency funds for climate-specific startups, while others are looking for ways to generate funding for historically neglected and marginalized founding groups.
If you have any juice or leads on what’s going on in SVB’s fallout, you can reach Natasha Masarenhas on Twitter @nmasc_ or on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. Identity requests will be honored.