India’s most valued unicorn, Paytm happens to be a fintech, in particular a payments company. As the world turns digital, payments technology companies have disrupted one of the world’s largest businesses in terms of volumes. The incumbents Visa and Mastercard have also gained from this transition to be amongst the world’s most valued companies. This is a piece about another payments company, Stripe, started by Irish brothers – Patrick and John Collison barely 10yrs ago but already valued at over $30bn.
“But in typical Silicon Valley fashion, Stripe doesn’t just want to be a mega payment company; its mission is “to increase the GDP of the internet” and build the “economic infrastructure” of the online world.
…The brothers became two of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs by starting a payments company aimed at pleasing developers—the coding carpenters of the internet’s landscape. Stripe was a hit with startups, soothing as it did the headaches that come with getting paid over the internet. Since then, the company’s pitch has evolved to include multiple services that make it more of a one-stop-shop for running a business. Customers can use Stripe’s credit card fraud detection service, or its Atlas product to form a company in Delaware. This month, Stripe launched its Treasury product in partnership with the likes of Goldman Sachs; platform companies like Shopify, an e-commerce firm, can use it to offer bank accounts to their merchants.
Meanwhile, the Collison brothers are climbing the Forbes list of global billionaires, which currently ranks them around No. 900, worth $3.2 billion each. That accounting may soon be out of date. In a new funding round under discussion, Bloomberg reported Stripe could be valued as high as $100 billion, about triple its valuation in April.”
So how did Stripe rise through the clutter of payments businesses wanting a slice of arguably a massive pie? Like most successful businesses, it boiled down to the vision and the ability of the founders to see what they couldn’t see. Hemant Taneja, one of the earliest VCs to fund Stripe, in this piece, says “In the early days of working together, I once asked Patrick, “who’s your ideal customer?” Patrick responded, “They don’t exist yet.” That answer opened my eyes to the unique insight that was driving them about the explosion in developer-led businesses…..They deeply viewed themselves as an infrastructure platform and wanted to be great partners to companies like Shopify versus competing with them.”

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