Two teen coders who hacked games and hacked iPhones became $ 7 billion in startups, each with $ 400 million

Two teen coders who hacked games and hacked iPhones became $ 7 billion in startups, each with $ 400 million

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2021-05-07 12:53:03

When 14-year-old Henrique Dubugras received legal notice about a video game he had hacked and made available for free online, his parents were not at all pleased.

“My mother asked to stop everything, but thanks to this game I learned how to code and that was what changed my life,” Dubugras recalled.

Today, 25-year-old Dubugras is the co-founder and CEO of Brex – a credit card startup worth about $ 7.4 billion. Dubugras and the other founder, Pedro Franceschi, 24, are said to own $ 400 million each.

Two teen coders who hacked games and hacked iPhones became $ 7 billion startup bosses, each owned $ 400 million - Photo 2.

From teen coder to young businessman practicing business

At the age of 12, Dubugras began downloading university textbooks and other programming materials on the internet for research. At the age of 14, he created a similar version of a popular Korean video game and released it online for free.

Initially, he just wanted to let his friends play, but the number of players increased. After a few months, Dubugras made tens of thousands of dollars from in-game purchases before receiving a legal warning from the original game distributor.

At the age of 16, Dubugras used the money earned from his game and coding skills to found his first startup: An app to assist Brazilian teenagers in the process of applying for college in the US with tips for SAT preparation. , prepare English essay and apply for a student visa.

But the business failed miserably. Although the app attracted about 800,000 users, Dubugras couldn’t make money from it because no one was willing or able to buy the app.

The association with Franceschi

During that time, Dubugras met Franceschi. Both are young talents who learn to code by themselves. They connect with each other on social media.

Before that, Franceschi was famous in Brazil hacking iPhone software to make Siri understand Portuguese at the age of 11. He got a job as a software engineer at many technology startups in Brazil while in high school.

Dubugras and Franceschi’s first startup was After the company grew to a scale of over $ 1.5 billion in transaction value, it sold it in 2016 for tens of millions of dollars. is now part of Stone, a $ 19 billion startup and one of the largest payments firms in Brazil, home to Dubugras and Franceschi.

Later, the two were accepted into Stanford University, but they also felt they could “dream bigger” by leaving Brazil for Silicon Valley.

Success of Brex

Two teen coders who hacked games and hacked iPhones became $ 7 billion startup bosses, each owning $ 400 million - Photo 3.

“We ran the company, we had a mature life, and now we are in college. It was not very fun. So we decided to start another company,” Dubugras said. After eight months at Stanford, they dropped out of school and founded Brex in 2017, when they were only about 20 years old.

Initially, the company operated in the house where Dubugras shared with two other friends. Then, Brex opened a small office with a low price on Market Street in San Francisco.

One year after its founding, Brex is valued at more than $ 1 billion, thanks to large initial investments, including $ 50 million from Y Combinator and $ 125 million from Greenoaks Capital and DST Global.

Brex is currently worth about $ 7.4 billion and has around 10,000 corporate customers. With a recent $ 425 million raise in fundraising, the company raised a total of more than $ 940 million from investors, including Max Levchin and Peter Thiel.

“I want to stick with Brex for the long term. Many people say we will be ‘serial entrepreneurs’ (who start new companies after having owned one or more in the past),” Dubugras said. Of course, we just want to build and stick with Brex for decades. “

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