Posted in: Tattle, Technology

How two Irish brothers started a £70bn company you’ve probably never heard of

The tale of online payment firm Stripe, founded by John and Patrick Collison, shows the value of spotting a gap in the market

The most valuable private company in Silicon Valley is an outfit most people have never heard of – unless they are a) Irish or b) tech investors. It’s called Stripe, and this week the latest round of investments in it have given it a valuation of $95bn (£68.5bn). It was founded in 2010 by two smart young lads from rural Ireland – the brothers John and Patrick Collison – who were then aged 19 and 21 respectively. The latest valuation of their company – based on a recent investment of $600m from investors including Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency, Fidelity and Sequoia Capital – means that each now has a net worth on paper in the region of $11.5bn.

The Collisons hail from Dromineer, a small town on the shores of Lough Derg in County Tipperary. When they were growing up it was too remote to have an internet connection, and initially the only way they could get decent broadband was via an expensive satellite link. In some ways they look like young prodigies from central casting. As a teenager, Patrick discovered Lisp, the programming language that was once the lingua franca of early AI programmers, and used it to create a conversational system that won him Ireland’s young scientist of the year award in 2005, at the age of 16. His brother, two years younger, got the highest scores ever recorded in the Irish school leaving certificate.

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