Stripe recently became the most valuable startup in America, valued at $95B. The online payment portal, used by Instacart, Google and Amazon, nearly tripled in value after its latest funding round where the company raised $600M from major investors including Fidelity, Sequoia Capital, Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency and Allianz.
There are murmurs among investors about a possible IPO in the coming year, but executives at Stripe have been silent on the matter. Some speculate that it could be one of the strongest IPOs of the year. The main reason behind Stripe’s success comes down to the fact that they just have a good business – the technology is simple to use and to integrate into existing software, executives hire well to keep employees happy and the business maintains an admirable reputation for customer service.
Most of Stripe’s clients come from Europe – the founders are from Tipperary, Ireland, and executives intend to use the new funds to build out greater operations on the continent. High profile European users of Stripe include Jaguar Land Rover, Klarna and Maersk. A forward-thinking startup, Stripe will likely increase its reach into Africa and Latin America in the coming decade. Investors see a lot of room for growth, and the easy-to-use software is attracting businesses of all sizes to use the transaction processing software, even if the 2.9% fee is slightly steeper than that of competitors.
Colin Kennedy, Stripe’s global head of partnerships from 2019, recently left the company to work at Ramp, a platform that allows employers to put limits on employee expense accounts by category and to streamline expense reporting. While Stripe’s impressive growth makes Kennedy’s move surprising, he is an expert in finding overlooked value and getting investors to stop and take a look. Ramp’s growth potential looks promising, as expense reporting is known for its tedium, and the company heavily promotes Ramp’s simplicity.
Ease of use is the main factor for software companies in 2021. The world’s most valuable “unicorn” startup is ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok. TikTok rose to prominence because of how easy it made video editing, something other social media platforms had not perfected. Coronavirus put everything online, causing online shopping rates to soar. An easy to use, easy to integrate payment platform that is accessible to both the Fortune 500 company as well as the mom and pop shop, is exactly what the democratizing world of investment needs. Keep an eye out for Stripe’s IPO; it may be one for the record books.