The lowdown on the worlds most talked-about payments platform
Its rare to be able to legitimately call a FinTech startup exciting, but thats exactly what Stripe is. You probably already know about it: the headline-grabbing, rapidly growing payments platform founded by those prodigiously young, prodigiously talented Collison brothers from Limerick, who dropped out of MIT and Harvard to start their company.
But how much you really know about Stripe? Following on from our short guide to Slack, another global success recently landed in Dublin, we thought wed bring you a brief guide to another of Irelands most buzzed-about startup stories.
Simplicity is everything:
Stripes success stems from its ease of use: its quick to get started with and easy to operate through a clean and simple dashboard.
With Stripe there are no merchant accounts, subscription fees, set up fees, validation fees, failed payment fees or card storage fees. Theres no monthly minimum payment or clunky gateways either, just a flat rate of 2.9% and an additional 30 (US) cents charged for every transaction.
Stripes Connect product, first launched in 2012 and overhauled earlier this year, further expands their services to facilitating online marketplaces, verifying the identities of sellers, paying them and seamlessly processing payments. Theyve won over developers, too, by making their product easy to customise: Stripes back-end API supports Java, Node.js, Python, Ruby and a list of other programming languages, and their Checkout function consists of an easily embeddable payment form.
Their funding has escalated very quickly…
Stripe have worked with high profile backers from the start, beginning with seed funding from Y Combinator in 2010. The following year they received $2 million in Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital, and secured a further $18 million led by the latter in 2012 (investors also included Aaron Levie, Redpoint Ventures and Chris Dixon).
Then in 2014 they levelled up with an $80 million Series C investment from Sequoia Capital again, along with Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures and Allen & Co. That same year they received another $70 million in Series D funding from Thrive Capital, Sequoia Capital, Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures (again) and General Catalyst Partners. Theyre also, famously (and somewhat ironically) backed by Paypal founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.
and their valuations have been the same:
Stripe were valued at $1.75 billion in January 2014, rising to $3.5 billion by December of that year after the announcement that they were partnering with Apple on their mobile payments service, Apple Pay. The current rumour, heavily reported but unconfirmed by Stripe, is that theyre looking for new investment which will raise that figure to $5 billion.
Their client list is enviable:
Theres Twitter, Lyft, Kickstarter, Shopify, Squarespace, TED, Reddit, Foursquare, Humble Bundle, The Guardian, Wired, Hubspot, DailyMotion, the aforementioned Apple the list goes on. They’ve just announced that they’re powering Pinterest’s first foray into e-commerce.
2015 has already been busy:
It might only be June, but 2015 has already been eventful for Stripe. After announcing the departure of Greg Brockman, their fourth employee and CTO, they announced that they had hired Don OLeary, formerly Twitters second most senior Irish executive, as EU Business Operations and Country Leader in Ireland. February 2015 also saw them announce that theyre handling Bitcoin with the launch of a special microsite, as well as the relaunch of Stripe Connect in March. They have also partnered with Twitter and Facebook to integrate buy buttons with the two social networks, have made a deal to support Alipay in China and have announced a private beta for Japan.
Most recently, last week Stripe were featured on Mary Meekers Internet Trends report of 2015, a highly influential yearly guide authored by the woman known as the Queen of the Net.
From Limerick, to San Francisco to
Though their founders are Irish, Stripe is technically an American company with its headquarters in San Francisco. They launched services in Ireland back in 2013, but it was only this year that they set up an office at the Digital Hub in Dublin 8. Can we claim them now as an Irish success? Why not one of our biggest success stories is back on home turf.