Limerick brothers launch firm in UK

Millionaire Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison’s developer-friendly payments company has officially launched in the UK after clearing “large hurdles”.

Limerick brothers launch firm in UK

UK website developers will now be able to facilitate card payments with ease and get access to the same instant activation that was a hit with US-based website developers which required multi-payment card acceptance including American Express, a brand many merchants have turned away from due to high merchant service charges.

Stripe and the Collison brothers have implemented multi-currency support this time round, meaning UK businesses will be able to charge customers around the world in dollars, pounds, and euro, with Stripe handling currency conversions and managing account deposits.

The brothers’ accumulated wealth and noted success with Stripe in the US has dismissed any thoughts that the payments service is a PayPal clone.

Regardless of this, the payments industry is a rapidly developing and highly competitive space, and differentiation from competitors can be extremely difficult. John’s not worried.

“I think the main differences are that, one, you get to keep control over the entire experience with the customer so if you’re building a website or an app — you get complete control over what that looks like,” he said.

“Second is the simplicity of getting set up and the pricing is completely flat and transparent... what was previously a very large project is [now] just one small step.”

Stripe has been the source of much excitement since it first commenced its funding rounds. A total of $38m (€28.5m) in investment has flowed into the innovative enterprise thanks to the help of a number of high-profile investors including PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Elon Musk.

Venture capitalists such as Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and SV Angel also got in at the early stages along with seed accelerator Y Combinator.

John sees the influence of these payment industry pioneers as a bonus. “I think our investors are very aligned with this idea that there are a huge number of people... online and that the internet economy is extremely important and it’s growing extremely fast, yet the infrastructure and tools that have been traditionally available to people selling online and building things online have often held them back,” he said.

“With Stripe, all that has changed. I think our investors get that and that’s a fairly powerful idea... I think that people with a lot of experience in this space are interested in solving this problem.”

The company has been subject to speculative valuations of between $500m and $1bn.

Stripe has been beta testing in Ireland, France, Britain, Netherlands, and Belgium for some time and now the UK is one of the first European markets to benefit from a full scale rollout.

“Having a private beta for a little while, that’s invite only, gives us the chance to improve the product for real world usage, and now the product that we have launched today has a number of real businesses using it,” John said.

Despite his financial success and his strong entrepreneurial spirit, John is attached to Stripe for the long-haul and there is a lot left to do with the “large and complex” payments company, he added.

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