Silicon Valley firm makes it easier for Tech City start-ups to accept payments

A Silicon Valley firm co-founded by 23-year-old Irishman John Collison is helping start-ups in Tech City to accept payments from customers.

Stripe, founded in 2010 by John and his older brother Patrick, provides a set of unified APIs (application programming interfaces) that allow businesses to instantly accept and manage payments online.

The company, run out of a trendy office in San Francisco's Mission District, expanded from the US and into 11 new countries last year, including the UK, where it has seen particularly strong growth, according to John, who started coding aged 14 before going on to study at Harvard.

“The UK is actually growing much faster than the US did,” he told Techworld in San Francisco this week. “The UK is two and a half times bigger six months after launch than the US was six months after its launch.”

John attributes much of this growth to the large number of digital start-ups in London’s Tech City, including personalised clothes service Thread, cleaning service Hassle, and fundraising site Prizeo, in addition to a number of larger organisations, such as Seedrs and the Guardian Media Group.

“You have this UK tech scene and I think there was some amount of pent up demand where people were working on these products and services and it was quite difficult for them to take payments before Stripe," he said.

“You create an account and instantly you can start charging. But more than that you can start doing things that weren’t otherwise offered. So if you’re building a subscription service you can instantly start charging people a monthly fee and that’s something that would have taken a few weeks to build before hand.”

Companies simply integrate a couple of lines of Stripe code to their websites in order to use the service. Stripe offers code in Ruby, PHP and Python, among others, for a quick integration. Toolkits are also available for native Android and iPhone apps as well for a number of third-party plugins and libraries for Wordpress and Drupal.

Stripe, which today employs 95 people across the US and Europe, has raised $130 million in total, with the help of high-profile investors like Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Max Levchin and Sequoia Capital.

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