Fireside Chat with Larissa Rocha, the first employee at Brex: a 4-year old startup valued at $8 Billion
Meet the first employee at Brex, the wildly successful tech company, Larissa Rocha. The incredible life story that Larissa made for herself started in her beautiful home country of Brazil. Ever since Larissa was a young girl she always had a heart for education. In fact, when Larissa turned nine, she had her mind set on Harvard, one of the top Ivy League schools in the United States. At that point, Larissa was determined to do everything in her power to make her dream become a reality. Due to the lack of international schools, in Brazil, Larissa had to get creative and find her own ways of learning English. It wasn’t until years later that Larissa came across a rare gem known as Prep; a free program to help Brazilian kids prep for the best schools abroad. This began the start of Larissa’s relationship with Henrique Duburgras and Pedro Franceschi; the founders of what would become the billion-dollar business, Brex.
To get a better idea of how truly intelligent and efficient these entrepreneurs are, when Pedro was 12 he was the first person in the world to jailbreak the (at the time) brand new iPhone 4. An extremely difficult task to accomplish, especially back then. Two years later, Pedro was also the first to get Siri to speak a language outside of English, by hacking the apple software. A self-made and taught engineer at its finest. By 21 Pedro and Henrique founded their second company known as Brex.
Although the idea of creating a billion-dollar business in less than 2 years is an extremely monumental achievement, it was something else that captured the heart of so many entrepreneurs. Brex is made up of 33% first-generation immigrants, over 29 different nationalities, and one of the only boards that incorporate 100% first-generation immigrants. These three successors proved that the American Dream can indeed become a reality for a young group of kids from Brazil. However, isn’t that the whole idea? That the American Dream is created with the intention of being achieved by everyone and anyone; especially those who were not born into it. Unfortunately, there is a harsh reality that many immigrants have faced once they buy their one-way ticket to the states. We do not hear of many multi-billion dollar companies started by and made up of first-generation immigrants, in America, but we must acknowledge the ones that do exist.
It is Larissa, Henrique, and Pedro’s story that gives people a sense of forgotten hope. That the idea of achieving the American Dream as a first-generation immigrant is indeed attainable. We must acknowledge that our country is as successful and strong as it is today because our immigrant ancestors had the courage to come here and work tirelessly to make their dreams come true.
Draper Startup House’s mission is to provide every entrepreneur in the world the same access to tools and resources that historically have primarily only been in Silicon Valley. We’re not your typical accelerator. DSH is scouring the globe to find game-changing founders at the earliest stage, building industry-transforming companies. Founders will be pushed to their limits mentally and physically, only to come out the other end stronger and better prepared to tackle the challenges of creating an extraordinary business. Startup founders will leave with a toolbelt of resources, knowledge, and connections to continue to thrive after a one-of-a-kind accelerator experience. We invest up to $100k in the earliest stage startups. We look for: Exceptional People, Extraordinary & out of the box ideas. We pride ourselves on bringing the resources and tools of Silicon Valley to the rest of the world. Our 2022 Accelerator Cohorts will be in Austin, TX.