Digital payments giant Stripe’s value soared to $95 billion after it capitalised on a boom in ecommerce with a round of funding that pushed it past Elon Musk’s SpaceX as the most valuable U.S. startup.
Founded in 2010 by Patrick and John Collison when the Irish brothers were barely out of their teens, Stripe is used by more than 50 companies each processing over $1 billion annually to receive payments and bill customers.
Its list of customers includes Google, Uber and Amazon, and more recently Just Eat, Zoom, Jaguar Land Rover and shipping giant Maersk.
Participants in the San Francisco- and Dublin-headquartered company’s latest financing, which raised $600 million, include units of Allianz SE, AXA SA, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Co, Sequoia Capital and Ireland’s sovereign wealth fund.
The company said it would use the capital to invest in its European operations – which cover 31 of the 42 countries where Stripe is active – and expand its global payments and treasury network.
At $95 billion, Stripe is now more valuable than any bank in the euro zone.
“The pandemic taught us many things about society, including how much can be achieved — and paid for — online,” Stripe Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara said in a statement.
“While Stripe already processes hundreds of billions of dollars per year for millions of businesses worldwide, the opportunity ahead is much larger … than it was when the company was started 10 years ago.”
German insurer Allianz’s digital investment unit Allianz X said it saw “astounding growth potential” in Stripe.
“MULTI-HUNDRED BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY”
One of Stripe’s investors from its initial 2012 Series A financing round, Elad Gil, said he believed the payments firm would become “a multi-hundred billion dollar company.”
“I don’t think it ends here. I think there is still a lot of runway ahead of the company in terms of growth, market cap and impact because it powers such a fundamental piece of the modern technology infrastructure,” Gil, who has backed other technology breakouts like Airbnb, Pinterest and Square, said.
As part of the $50 million invested by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Stripe will add over 1,000 more jobs in the Collison brothers’ native country over the next five years.
Large multinational companies like Facebook, Apple and most recently TikTok have set up substantial operations in Ireland, drawn by its low corporate tax rate, and now employ one in eight people.
From Limerick in the southwest of Ireland, the Collisons sold their first business for a reported $5 million while John, the younger of the two, was still in school.
The pair left Ireland to study at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They dropped out, moved to Palo Alto, California and founded Stripe.