Dromineer is a tiny village in the heart of Ireland with less than 150 inhabitants. In this picturesque place with admittedly not many things to do, Patrick and John Collison got into programming.
Ten years later, the two young entrepreneurs managed to build Stripe, an online payments processing company recently valued at $95bn.
When Patrick and John were children, their parents ran a small lakeside hotel in the village that had “nothing but mooing cows,” said Patrick in an interview with the FT back in 2014. “I often wonder if it’s desirable to grow up somewhere boring because you’re forced to find your own interests,” said John.
The Collison brothers got into programming as teenagers. In order to access the internet from their home, their parents had to get a special satellite connection set up. From there, they taught themselves how to code.
Patrick, now 32, and John, 30, launched their first tech startup, the shopping app Shuppa in 2007. When they were turned down for funding in Ireland, they decided to relocate to San Francisco, where they live now. A year later, they sold the startup, rechristened Auctomatic, for $5m, becoming two teenage millionaires.
The brothers went to university: Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Patrick and Harvard for John. However, less than a year later, they both dropped out for a second bout of entrepreneurship. And then, back in 2010, Stripe emerged.
What is Stripe?
As described in its website, Stripe is a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. Businesses of every size – from new startups to public companies – use its software to accept payments and manage their businesses online.
The company’s goal is to make adding payment infrastructure to a website or app as easy and developer-friendly as changing the background colour, or letting users log in with their Facebook accounts.
Customers in the U.S. include Amazon.com Inc., Spopify Inc., Salesforce.com Inc., and Lyft Inc., while in Europe, Axel Springer, Jaguar Land Rover, Maersk, Metro, Mountain Warehouse and Waitrose have all recently turned to Stripe to grow and diversify their online revenue.
From startups to the world’s largest companies
Stripe sits now at the top of the list of Silicon Valley’s most prized private companies, after investors recently valued it at $95bn. Its valuation almost tripled in less than a year with its latest funding round, making it the most valuable U.S. startup. The company drew $600 million in its latest fundraising, Stripe said in a statement.
The company will use the capital to invest in its European operations, and its Dublin headquarters in particular, support surging demand from enterprise heavyweights across Europe, and expand its Global Payments and Treasury Network.
“We’re investing a ton more in Europe this year, particularly in Ireland,” said John Collison. “Whether in fintech, mobility, retail or SaaS, the growth opportunity for the European digital economy is immense.“
Stripe notes that only 14% of commerce takes place online today, despite the global economy accelerating its shift to online in 2020. “Stripe’s mission is to grow the GDP of the internet, making it easy for ambitious companies everywhere to grow their business.”