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Brex, a San Francisco-based provider of industry-specific corporate credit cards, raised $100 million at a $2.6 billion post-money valuation. Kleiner Perkins Digital Growth led, and was joined by fellow return backers YC Continuity, Ribbit Capital, DST Global, Greenoaks Capital and IVP. The company previously raised $125 million last fall at a $1.1 billion post-money valuation.

Why it matters: Because it reflects how lending-related startups believe they need fortress balance sheets, much like what we recently saw with SoFi.

Of note: CEO Henrique Dubugras tells me that he views the deal as a "repricing event" and that its size was, in part, dictated by VC market conditions: "Growth equity investors want to put a certain amount of money to work. Once you add in the existing investors with pro rata, $100 million is probably the minimum we could raise right now."

Bottom line: Brex launched in 2017 with cards specifically tailored to startups, but more recently expanded into e-commerce (now 1/3 of revenue) and now into life sciences. Dubugras says the life sciences offering will, for example, offer multipliers on purchases like lab supplies and conference costs.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
39 mins ago - Economy & Business

SoftBank and StubHub vets form new SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Jeffrey Housenbold, who recently stepped down as a managing partner of SoftBank Vision Fund, has formed a new SPAC with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who was president of ticket resale firm StubHub until it was acquired last year by Viagogo.

Why it matters: The death of SPACs has been greatly exaggerated.

56 mins ago - World

U.K. government sets out agenda in first COVID-era Queen's Speech

Queen Elizabeth II walks behind the Imperial State Crown in the Royal Gallery of Parliament. Photo: Richard Pohle/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II laid out the U.K. government's agenda at the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday, marking the first Queen's Speech since the pandemic began and her first major public appearance since the death of her husband, Prince Philip.

Why it matters: In a pared-back ceremony, the queen set out Prime Minister Boris Johnson's vision for recovering from a pandemic that inflicted the worst death toll in Europe and worst recession in 300 years.

The ransomware pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"We are on the cusp of a global pandemic," said Christopher Krebs, the first director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told Congress last week. The virus causing the pandemic isn't biological, however. It's software.

Why it matters: Crippling a major U.S. oil pipeline this weekend initially looked like an act of war — but it's now looking like an increasingly normal crime, bought off-the-shelf from a "ransomware as a service" provider known as DarkSide.