Q&A: Is online payments company Stripe about to go public?

Reports suggest Silicon Valley’s most valuable company is preparing to list on the stock market

Stripe founders John and Patrick Collison are estimated to have personal fortunes of about $9.5 billion each.

Stripe founders John and Patrick Collison are estimated to have personal fortunes of about $9.5 billion each.

 

What does Stripe do?

The company processes hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions every year for millions of businesses worldwide. Its list of clients includes household names like Google, Uber, Amazon and Zoom.

Is Stripe about to go public?

We aren’t quite at that stage yet but according to informed sources the online payments company has hired Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as a legal adviser to help it with early-stage listing preparations.

If true, it means the company is edging closer to making a stock market debut although there are still a number of other steps required before it might happen, including hiring investment banks. Sources indicate a listing is unlikely to happen this year.

What is a listing?

It refers to the process by which companies can list shares for sale on a public exchange rather than seeking capital from private sources.

It not only allows employees to gain from being able to sell their shares but also enables the public to back companies that are (hopefully) on the up.

Why is this of interest?

Stripe is currently the most valuable privately-owned company in Silicon Valley and one of the most valuable in the world. This means there is huge interest in everything the company does.

Also, given the company is only really getting started there are opportunities for it to become even bigger, and for it to expand further into other areas.

What does Stripe say?

It has declined to comment on a media report from Reuters. Previously, company founders – Irish entrepreneurs Patrick and John Collison – have downplayed interest in going public.

“Our business is not highly capital consumptive and we’re structured in a way that we can continually self-fund and so IPO considerations are secondary to us, Stripe president John Collison told The Irish Times last December.

“If you sit in on a management meeting at Stripe, then we’re not talking about IPOs, but about customer issues and our product roadmap,” he added.

How much is Stripe worth currently?

About $95 billion (€80.1 bn)following a funding round earlier this year. The two founders are estimated to have personal fortunes of about $9.5 billion each.

Is Stripe the most valuable private company in the world?

Not right now but it is certainly heading that way. Chinese technology giants Ant Group and TikTok owner ByteDance, which are both believed to be close to listing, are valued at nearly $200 billion.

Is there room for growth?

It might seem as though ecommerce rules but in reality only a small fraction of business takes place online currently. Stripe’s ambition is to “grow the GDP of the internet”. As it does this, it also grows. The pandemic has speeded things up with companies clamouring to get online, mostly via Stripe.

What is the company’s links with Ireland?

Patrick and John Collison were born here, the company is joint headquartered locally, and it has an engineering hub in Dublin that employs more than 300 people with plans to take on more than 1,000 more.

So where exactly are Patrick and John from?

Depends who you ask. Both counties Tipperary and Limerick claim them. The lads grew up Drominer, Co Tipperary, but attended school in Limerick.