How Brex uses Svix to power all of their webhooks

Brex is an all-in-one spend management platform, with a mission to empower employees to make the best financial decisions they can.

They are a household name in the startup world. They power the spend management of some of the most innovative companies such as Airbnb, DoorDash, Coinbase, Deel, and Airtable, and were most recently valued at $12bn.

Brex first came to Svix when they started working on their new API product to help them build better relationships with partners and give their power users better tools for interacting with Brex. The API was very important to accomplish that, and having good webhooks was essential for building a good API product.

Milo Spirig

Our customers wanted us to send webhooks. We saw in our data, and we heard it directly from them.

Milo SpirigAPI Product Lead

Brex's customers wanted webhooks

As Brex's offering continued to evolve they discovered that their customers want API access for essentially everything they could do in the UI. Once they started offering the API to initial customers, they saw their customers polling their APIs as they wanted a way to get updates in real-time.

At this point the need for webhooks was obvious. The load generated by each of their customers polling their APIs tens of thousands of times a day for real-time updates was starting to get untenable, as well as it being a suboptimal developer experience for their customers.

When Brex first launched their API, they only offered it to their partners. Fast forward to today, it's now possible for every customer to drive powerful workflows using either code or no-code tools (like Zapier and Workato) whenever a Brex card makes purchase and on many other events. All of which is made possible thanks to the Brex API and webhooks.

Milo Spirig

For a financial product in particular, there is a much stronger case for time-sensitive operations. As a customer you want to know as soon as possible when there's something that requires your attention.

Milo SpirigAPI Product Lead

Developers expect a great webhooks experience

Initially, Brex didn't know there was a product like Svix, so they explored building it in-house. Though as they started designing the solution, they realized that there is a lot of complexity involved in building it reliably, and concerns were brought up about the potential for incidents and degradation of the rest of their infrastructure.

As part of their exploration, they also looked at other engineering products that had webhooks support, such as Stripe, and realized that sending webhooks doesn't end with just sending webhooks. It requires a lot of additional functionality such as retries, fanout, visibility, as well as special care around security.

Milo Spirig

We realized that webhooks is not only about the sending infrastructure, but also about giving developers the right tooling to consume them.

Milo SpirigAPI Product Lead

Having done all of this research, Brex realized that building good webhooks is way beyond the investment they wanted to make. Both in terms of upfront engineering time and ongoing maintenance.

At this point they started looking for an external solution, and found Svix and a couple of other offerings. Though they chose Svix because the product was superior, the support was top-notch and extremely responsive, and they knew that Svix was a partner that they can depend on to to work at their scalability and reliability requirements.

Milo Spirig

We wanted our team to continue implementing new capabilities, not have an ongoing commitment to maintaining such a big piece of infrastructure.

Milo SpirigAPI Product Lead

Svix was the right choice

Initially, the engineer working on the design was excited by the idea of building webhooks. But then they realized it wasn't a ‘build and move on project’, but more of a ‘build and maintain the infra’ project, and the idea became much less exciting to the team. When it was a riddle to be solved it was fun, but when you realize you're stuck with this riddle for the rest of your life, less so.

In our evaluation, we felt Svix had a level of product maturity and a brand that we were very comfortable with putting in front of our customers. Brex customers have a certain expectation of us, and we need partners that can deliver at that level. And given our API is core to the Brex interface, we wanted a partner that was going to be around for a long time.

Svix enabled us to have a fast speed to market, and brought the right balance of enterprise readiness with developer friendliness. The product reads 'Brex', and we can offer great tools for debugging and testing, SDKs for our customers, static IPs, and other features that helped out webhooks be enterprise ready from day one.

As for uptime and reliability, in our years of using Svix we never had any issues, concerns or incidents. We just set it up and forgot it existed, and that's a good thing I wish all of our vendors were like that. It just keeps on working in the background without us ever having to think about it.

Milo Spirig

Svix had a level of product maturity and a brand that we were very comfortable with putting in front of our customers. Brex customers have a certain expectation of us, and we need partners that can deliver at that level.

Milo SpirigAPI Product Lead

In addition to the developer experience Svix offers to their customers, the Brex team also really appreciated the developer experience Svix offered them. With an SDK for their language of choice, and tools like Svix Play to make building webhooks a breeze.

The end result

With the help of Svix, Brex has managed to build a state of the art webhooks offering at a fraction of the time and cost that it would take them to do otherwise. With the added bonus that they don't need to ever maintain or think about it.

Milo Spirig

Svix is a great example of a product that is super low risk to start off with, as you always have the option to build something in-house later on. But the chances are, you will never need or want to.

Milo SpirigAPI Product Lead

Brex's API and webhooks power the finance of some of the world's most recognizable brands, as well as some of the most exciting startups of tomorrow. Svix is also a happy Brex customer.

Svix also allows some fun use cases as well. Founders who are waiting for their first check to come in use the webhook to send the incoming transfer into their Brex account. That's a big moment for them, a big moment for us, and one Svix helps power.