The billion-dollar Collison brothers




Two Limerick brothers are set to join the world’s mega-wealthy after having their company valued at $1.75bn (€1.3bn).

Silicon Valley company Stripe was founded by Patrick, 25, and John Collison, 23, in 2010 with the goal of making it easier to bill a business on the internet. Its value rocketed after it raised $80m from investors.

Patrick said the latest valuation reflected the promise shown by his company, which processed billions of dollars in payments last year for businesses from ranging from small companies to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Stripe’s rapid growth has inspired talk in Silicon Valley that it could threaten PayPal, which has not faced serious competition in a decade. Stripe collects 2.9% of every transaction plus 30c.

PayPal’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, who has backed Stripe since its early days, led Stripe’s recent funding round through his venture capital firm, the Founders Fund.

“It’s a nice validation of what everyone has done over the last year,” Mr Collison said of the investment.

However, he dodged any direct comparison to PayPal, only saying he was confident the demand for payment processing would only explode in the coming years because only 2% of all commercial transactions take place online today.

“There should be more transactions happening on the internet on a macro basis, whether you believe that should be 20% or 40%. Well, what is holding it back? Our goal is to expand internet commerce.”

In 2013, Patrick and John were named in The Sunday Times’s Irish Rich List with a €59m holding in Stripe. Six years ago, the brothers shared a €3m windfall after they sold their fledgling internet firm, Auctomatic. After that, Patrick, a Young Scientist winner, became director of engineering at Live Current Media. He went on to study maths at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. John studied psychology at Harvard.

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