Patrick and John Collison have enjoyed a long honeymoon period with the Irish and global media, with a carefully curated image of Stripe presented over recent years. But that relationship faces a big test now that it turns out that they are mere mortals with Stripe announcing plans to let go a sizeable chunk of its workforce.
On Thursday, news emerged that it planned to cut 14 per cent of its employees, amounting to about 1,000 jobs.
No one is quite clear how many Irish jobs will be lost, in part because Stripe has been so opaque about the process. It has between 500 and 600 employees here so applying a 14 per cent reduction would indicate that 70-80 are set to lose their jobs. But the actual figure could be higher or lower depending on how the chips fall for the various departments within Stripe.
[ Stripe’s Dublin unit sees revenue jump 66% to €2.3bn Pretax losses fall 84% at arm of Collison brothers’ company ]
Crucially, the cutbacks may also put the kibosh on Stripe’s ambitious growth for Ireland. Just last year the company and IDA Ireland breathlessly announced plans to create “hundreds” of software engineering jobs in Dublin.
The need for cutbacks at Stripe has arisen — by chief executive Patrick Collison’s own admission — as a consequence of their own miscalculations at the helm of the company. “We were much too optimistic about the internet economy’s near-term growth in 2022 and 2023 and underestimated both the likelihood and impact of a broader slowdown,” said Collison in his letter to staff on Thursday.
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However, murmurings of discontent with how the payments company is run have been audible for some time.
There is no doubting the billionaire brothers’ business nous, having built the company into an IPO-destined, $95 billion unicorn in just over a decade. But perhaps Stripe has reached the point where its founders need to step back from the tiller and let others manage the day-to-day activities of the business, as many successful tech founders have done before them.