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Watch > Episode > John Collison - Earning His Stripe

John Collison - Earning His Stripe


John Collison is the co-founder of Stripe, a company that “makes it easy to start accepting credit cards on the web today.”  The 23 year old is from Limerick, Ireland and sold his first company at age 17 and moved to Silicon Valley. Stripe has received backing from Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Max Levchin and Sequoia Capital, and is already revolutionising the payments sector. In this London Real episode, John joins Brian Rose to discuss technology entrepreneurship, how Stripe has disintermediated the online payments sector for merchants and his vision for what’s next in the space.

Raised in a rural Irish town, John Collison displayed an early aptitude for technology. His interest in programming emerged at a young age, and he quickly became a self-taught coder. Alongside his younger brother Patrick, the Collison siblings shared a passion for technology and an eagerness to explore its potential. Despite their rural upbringing, both brothers recognised the transformative power of the internet and its potential to reshape industries.

John Collison’s academic journey led him to Harvard University, where he pursued a degree in computer science. During his time at Harvard, Collison continued to hone his programming skills while exploring entrepreneurial ventures. His first notable project, “Shuppa,” an online auction management system, demonstrated his early commitment to leveraging technology for practical solutions.

The pivotal moment in John Collison’s career came with the inception of Stripe, co-founded with his brother Patrick in 2010. The idea for Stripe emerged from the Collison brothers’ frustration with the complexities of online payment processing. Recognising the need for a simpler, developer-friendly solution, they set out to create a platform that would revolutionise the way businesses accepted payments online.

What sets Stripe apart from traditional payment processors is its unwavering commitment to developers. John Collison understands that by providing a seamless and adaptable set of tools, businesses could integrate payment processing effortlessly into their websites and applications. This developer-centric approach has proven to be a game-changer, empowering businesses of all sizes to create customised, frictionless payment experiences for their customers.

Under John Collison’s leadership as President, Stripe is disrupting the traditional payment landscape. Its innovative technology allows businesses to bypass the complexities of legacy systems and focus on delivering a superior user experience. Stripe’s ability to simplify online payments democratises access for startups and small businesses, enabling them to compete on a global scale with established players.

John Collison has played a pivotal role in expanding Stripe’s footprint globally. The company quickly became available to businesses in various countries, and Collison’s strategic leadership fostered partnerships with major industry players. Collaborations with Amazon, Salesforce, and Shopify have solidified Stripe’s reputation as a reliable and versatile payment processing platform.

John Collison’s leadership contributed significantly to Stripe’s valuation, turning the company into one of the most valuable privately-held tech unicorns globally. The company’s valuation continued to soar, attaining unprecedented heights and positioning Stripe as a formidable player in the fintech industry.

While Stripe’s journey under John Collison’s leadership has been marked by remarkable success, challenges persist in the rapidly evolving fintech landscape. Competition, regulatory complexities, and technological advancements demand ongoing adaptability. However, Collison’s ability to navigate challenges and drive continuous innovation positions Stripe for a future marked by sustained growth and influence.

John Collison’s remarkable journey from a small town in Ireland to co-founding one of the most influential fintech companies showcases the transformative power of visionary leadership and technological innovation. As a tech prodigy and entrepreneur, Collison’s impact on the online payment industry has been nothing short of revolutionary.

With his relentless commitment to simplifying financial transactions and driving innovation, John Collison remains at the forefront of reshaping the future of FinTech and the digital economy.


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