A Harvard grad was the first employee at buzzy credit card startup Brex and says the experience was better than any MBA program she could have taken.

If timing is everything, Larissa Rocha should teach a master class. And she might, as the new head of community at buzzy startup Brex.

Rocha holds the coveted title of Employee No. 1 at Silicon Valley's hottest startup, a credit card and banking system for other startups. In its two years of existence and Rocha's two years of employment, Brex has raised more than $316 million in venture funding and is worth $2.6 billion, according to Pitchbook data.

"I don't know what happens after 30 years, but I want to be at Brex for as long as we're building this and I will go wherever Brex takes me. It's my baby and we're here for the long term," Rocha told Business Insider.

Read More: Brex, the credit card for startups, raised $100 million at a $2.6 billion valuation — more than double what it was worth nine months ago

Unlike Brex founders Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, Rocha took a sensible approach to entrepreneurship. Having grown up in a small town in rural Brazil, she was adamant about finishing her undergraduate degree in economics at Harvard before making the plunge. But she kept in touch with Dubugras and Franceschi, who she said she met while living in Brazil, even after they dropped out of Stanford to join Y Combinator with a new company that would become Brex.

"Henrique and Pedro are definitely a big reason," Rocha said of her decision to come to Brex. "They had that very clear vision of wanting to build something that will improve the world, and that really resonated with me. To have the chance to build that from scratch is so much more exciting and nerve wracking but more fun too."

Startup school

Since joining Brex in June 2017, two weeks after graduation, Rocha got to work. She said Dubugras and Franceschi tasked her with building spend models for startups at different stages so they could better predict what limits Brex should offer and what the market would allow.

"Even the ones that raised money, they don't want the credit," Rocha said. "They want just a payment instrument. No one was willing to give them one unless the founder was willing to personally guarantee it. And if you're an immigrant like we were, you don't even have that yet. So they said, okay, that's not right."

Rocha was heads down building a business development team when they noticed the startups' engineering team wasn't growing quickly enough. So Rocha stepped in and built a recruitment process for front end engineers.

"I hadn't even heard of that," Rocha said. "It was also a humbling experience in and of itself, trying to recruit for a company in stealth in the Valley."

Rocha said she built her own mentor network to help navigate the ins and outs of recruiting, and eventually hired a top-notch recruiting team to keep up with the growing company's needs. Then she moved to sales full time, and until recently, said the photo on her phone's lock screen was a screenshot of the first sale she closed.

Since then, she's led and built the customer support team in addition to the recruiting and business development teams. She is helping onboard 20 new hires every other week, and has started building Brex's suite of customer offerings as the company plans to expand beyond just corporate credit cards.

"I'm very, very grateful to have gone to school," Rocha said. "Having that opportunity to explore a lot of things definitely helped me to learn how to learn. But I think it's more effective than any MBA for me to have these on the ground experience here."

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