Stripe Clocks In At $95B

A $600m round on a $95b valuation.

Stripe just closed a $600m round and plans on using the funds to further expand their operations into the European market. Founded in 2010 by John and his brother Patrick Collison (the CEO), Stripe is one of a wave of commerce startups that saw the value of building a simple way for developers to integrate payments into any app or site by way of a few lines of code, at a time when digital and specifically online payments were starting to take off.

Stripe really differentiates in five core ways. Until Stripe came along, setting up a way to accept credit card payments, especially online, was a major headache. It required working with an existing merchant services company and setting up complex systems and integrations. The Collison brothers saw how complicated it was and figured there must be a way to make it more simple.

They solved the problem by making it possible to accept payments simply by adding a few lines of code to your website. That doesn’t mean that accepting payments online doesn’t still involve complicated processes, but to the end user, none of that matters. Stripe does it all.

Part of that simplicity was the ease with which you could connect Stripe to almost any online platform. Stripe has prebuilt integrations with Squarespace, Memberful, Shopify, and BigCommerce, along with hundreds of others. That means, even if you aren’t a developer, and don’t know anything about code, you can still easily set up your site to use Stripe.

Stripe has long been known for providing incredible customer support and service. That goes a long way considering a lot of those customers are small businesses that aren’t experts on things like websites or code or payment processing.

One of the ways Stripe does this is by staying out of the way. Other services, like PayPal, for example, are a prominent part of the payment experience. You know you’re using PayPal when you check out. In fact, you have to leave the site you’re buying from to enter your information on PayPal, which then sends you back.

Over time, Stripe has become, for many small businesses, the default option when thinking about how to accept payments online. That’s especially true as millions of people had to figure out different ways to do business online over the past year.

If you decided to start an online business during the pandemic, or if you transitioned your existing business online, there’s a pretty good chance you defaulted to using Stripe for all the reasons listed above. There is no better place to be as a business than the default option for your customers, and Stripe has done exactly that when it comes to accepting payments online. It doesn’t get more valuable than that.

Stripe said the financing included backing from two major insurance players. Allianz, via its Allianz X fund, and Axa are in the round, along with Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital and an investor from the founders’ home country, Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

The big round, rising valuation and growing cap table will inevitably lead to questions around where the company is standing with regard to its next steps, and whether that will include a public listing. Stripe has long kept its cards close to its chest when it comes to user numbers, revenues and profit, and those details, once again, are not being disclosed with the news today nor has it made any comments on IPO plans.

Stripe had done all the hard work of integrating all the different and complex pieces needed to make payments work both in countries and across borders. Over the years, the company has built out a bigger platform around that, a suite of services to position itself as a one-stop shop not just for helping businesses run all of the commercial aspects of their operations, including incorporation, managing fraud, managing cash flow and more.

Stripe has built out a decent footprint in Europe, with the region accounting for 31 of the 42 countries where it has customers today. While Stripe may have had its start and early traction providing payments infrastructure for startups (and especially small, new startups), today that list includes a lot of big names, too. In Europe, customers include Axel Springer, Jaguar Land Rover, Maersk, Metro, Mountain Warehouse and Waitrose, alongside Deliveroo (U.K.), Doctolib (France), Glofox (Ireland), Klarna (Sweden), ManoMano (France), N26 (Germany), UiPath (Romania) and Vinted (Lithuania).

Even throughout COVID Stripe has had success. The rise of people shopping considerably more across the web and apps rather than in person, currently some 14% of commerce happens online, a big shift considering that just a year ago it was about 10%.

It’s no surprise that Stripe is one of the leading powerhouse payment processing tools. They’ve built such an incredible platform that commands the high valuation that is has today. I expect Stripe to continue growing at a rapid rate and begin to take over new global markets.

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