John Collison was born on August 6, 1990, and Patrick Collison was born on September 9, 1988, both in Limerick, Ireland. They were raised in the small Irish village of Dromineer by their parents, microbiologist Lily and engineer Denis, along with a different brother. Early on, Patrick and John began learning how to program. When Patrick was eight years old, he enrolled in his first computer course at the University of Limerick. The brothers founded their first company, Shuppa, in 2007. That business merged with Auctomatic, another business the brothers founded that produced software for eBay vendors. 2008 saw the sale of Auctomatic by Patrick and John for $5 million. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Patrick was a student. John moved to the U.S. to attend Harvard in 2009. Following the sale of Auctomatic, John left Harvard and Patrick left MIT. To start their subsequent business, Stripe, the brothers relocated to Silicon Valley.
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP via Getty Images, John Collison
Stripe was created by the Collison brothers to address a challenge facing app developers. The Internet and smartphones had made it easy to build and launch products that had global reach, however, getting paid for those products was still incredibly complicated. The Collisons therefore devised a method that made it possible for anyone to take money right away. Stripe immediately caught on. The Collison brothers performed everything in the beginning, including writing the code, managing customer care issues, and promoting their brand-new business to prospective customers. Today, the brothers have employees to handle a lot of the workload while John deals with sales and partnerships and Patrick focuses on engineering and being the face of the company. John and Patrick initially commuted daily to the Stripe offices on their bikes. They were already millionaires, but they were just too cheap to buy an automobile.
There have been 12 fundraising rounds for Stripe since 2010. YCombinator made the first seed round in August 2010. The $2 million investment from Musk, Thiel, and the VC firms in the second seed round occurred in March 2011.
On February 9, 2012, Sequoia Capital made a $18 million investment in the company, valuing it at $100 million.
On January 22, 2014, Founders Fund invested $80 million in Stripe, giving the company a $1.75 billion valuation as part of the Series C part one. Stripe was valued at $3.5 billion thanks to Thrive Capital’s $70 million Series C part two investment on December 2, 2014. Three of Series C included a $100 million financial injection.
Series D was a $150 million funding round from CapitalG and General Catalyst on November 25, 2016, that valued Stripe at $9 billion. Patrick and John Collison are now formally billionaires thanks to this round of fundraising.
Tiger Global Management’s $100 million Series F investment on January 29, 2019, raised Stripe’s valuation to $22.5 billion.
As of this writing, Stripe is valued at $115 billion, and rumors of an IPO are starting to circulate. It is uncertain whether the company that processes payments will conduct an initial public offering in 2021. But one thing is almost certain: whenever Stripe goes public, it will be the year’s most popular IPO.
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