Irish brothers aiming to double Stripe in a year

Stripe is aiming to double in size and expand into new markets in the coming year, as the online payments company founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, continues its rapid expansion.
Irish brothers aiming to double Stripe in a year

The Irish entrepreneurial duo have built Stripe from a two-man operation into a Silicon Valley favourite, employing 320 staff in just five years.

With just a tiny fraction of commerce conducted online, and mobile another growth trajectory yet to be tapped into, the company’s co-founder John Collison sees huge potential for expansion in 2016.

“We’re now 320 people and we’ve hired those 320 people over the past five years. If you think about it if we want to double Stripe in the next year we have to take that entire Stripe we built over the past five years and build another one in one year and we’re going to need more people to help us do that...

"We’re going to try [to double in size] and fingers crossed we will and then, for me personally, you have to change what you’re doing, how you’re operating as the company goes through various sizes,” Mr Collison said.

“What you need to be at a two person company, which is just writing code, is different to what you need to be at a 50 person company versus a 300 person company.”

Building a company of that scale is not without challenges, however, with the focus so far having centred on improving Stripe in a small number of largely developed nations.

“It’s not as easy to serve the other 95% [of the world] as it is that first 5% and so for us we’ve been improving Stripe’s international coverage and international presence for the past three years now,” Mr Collison said.

As the company continues to expand its footprint into new areas such as Brazil and Portugal, where clients have recently joined the Stripe family, further issues will emerge but getting customers using the product to begin with is key, from there the nuances of each country’s payment system and culture can be adapted to.

Stripe, which currently operates in 22 countries, is eyeing growth in Latin America and South East Asia particularly next year but is also “betting big on Europe”.

Founded in 2011 by the Collisons, who are originally from Nenagh in Co Tipperary, Stripe has experienced huge growth over the past few years. In July, the company which is based out of San Francisco, closed a funding round that valued it at €4.52bn.

The funding, believed to be in the region of $100m, followed a $70m investment just eight months earlier.

Partnerships with global tech giants such as Twitter, Facebook and Visa have also driven its expansion.

Despite its remarkable success to date, Mr Collison said he “takes issue” with the characterisation of he and his brother of having “made it”.

Instead, he said, as the company grows the fraction of the problem they think they’ve solved keeps shrinking as Stripe looks to position itself at the forefront of the continuing expansion of e-commerce.

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