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Hard times in Silicon Valley? Not for the payment startup strip



SAN FRANCISCO – Although high-flying start-ups have met with a cool reception on Wall Street in recent months, investors' willingness to make big bets has not just sunk.

Stripe, a startup that helps businesses do the insane work of making payments, announced on Thursday that they had withdrawn new investments that gave it a $ 35 billion valuation, making it one of the most valuable start- up in the world, worth more than prominent names like Airbnb and DoorDash.

The young Irish brothers who founded Stripe have quietly built their company by making it easier for online businesses to make payments from customers and move money around the world.

Payments have long been a fertile territory for Internet companies such as PayPal and Square because the business can provide a reliable stream of revenue from 2 to 3 percent fee collected on each credit card swipe.

These revenues allow payment initiators to grow without the same investment needed for companies like WeWork and Uber that rely on physical infrastructure.

In its latest fundraising round, Stripe raised $ 250 million, which is small compared to what WeWork and others have needed to reach their own hefty valuations.

Stripe has focused on the developers who are actually building new websites. This has won the business of many of the largest Internet companies, including Facebook, Google, Shopify and Lyft.

"We realized that because Internet companies tend to move faster, we need to move faster than the traditional financial system," Stripe President John Collison said in an interview Thursday.

The new fundraising round makes Stripe more valuable than many public companies, including competitor Square, which was worth $ 10 billion less than Stripe on Thursday.

Stripe is part of a broader trend of companies waiting longer to go public, in part because of the ever-growing pools with funds now available from venture capital investors.

The latest fundraising round came from some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia and General Catalyst.

The decision to stay private has allowed Stripe to remain secretive about how they make money and how much different business has grown, however, the company said on Thursday that it is now processing laughs hundreds of billions of dollars transactions a year.

Stripe has avoided going public, Collison said, because executives believe the company is still in its early days, with huge opportunities for expansion. He likes to quote the figure that even today, less than 8 percent of online shopping takes place.

In recent weeks, Stripe has been pushing from its roots to payments with the introduction of Stripe Capital, which offers loans to Stripe customers, and a Stripe corporate credit card. The company has also expanded across the globe, adding eight new countries this month.

The Collison brothers, John and Patrick, sold their first company when they were 19 and 17 and started Stripe two years later after dropping out of M.I.T. and Harvard and joined the Y Combinator early startup accelerator.

The rise of the Strip has made the Collisons popular figures in Silicon Valley, although little known outside it.

The elder brother and CEO of Stripe, Patrick Collison, is a regular figure on the podcast and local speaking circuit, where he is as likely to talk about his intellectual interests in finance and literature as he is to delve into payments.


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