Making online payments was not always a click of a button. Many early users found the processes intimidating, unnerving, and even dangerous. Today web merchants and customers have little hesitation making online transactions; in fact, online payments have become a standard. The reason for this attitude change is partly due to Patrick and John Collison, brothers and the founders of disruptive payment company Stripe.
Stripe was conceived in early 2010 as a side project. Patrick was the Director of Product Engineering for Live Current Media, the company that bought out his first startup Auctomatic. John was attending Harvard. The two brothers had a goal to simplify online transactions and develop an easy-to-use interface. Only two weeks after the initial prototype, Stripe conducted a transaction with its first customer, 280 North, a Y Combinator company.
The objective was unmistakable, however, the brand at the time was. Stripe wasn’t called Stripe at first, it was named /dev/payment. The name led to problems. Some schemas did not allow slashes in company names. So they changed it to SLASHDEVSLASHFINANCE. This new identity caused misspelling and misunderstanding. After throwing around some other possible names, the company was eventually dubbed Stripe.
The company moved fast out of infancy, with a pre-acquisition period of approximately 10 months. Y Combinator was the first to fund Stripe, followed by Peter Thiel, Sequoia Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz.
On September 29, 2011, Stripe launched to the public. The service was met with surprising growth, even though the only marketing was through word of mouth. The payment system was going viral, a rarity at a time for a company that wasn’t based around social networks.
“But it became clear that everything else was so bad and so painful to work with that people actually were selling this to their friends,” Patrick said in an Interview with TechZing. It was then clear; the market was huge and the growth will be completely organic.
By the end of the first quarter of 2013, Stripe received $20 million Series B investment and acquired Kickoff, a chat and task-management application.
And in the following year, Stripe received $80 million Series C investment and announced that they will be supporting Bitcoin transactions. In October 2014, Stripe became one of the first payment providers with software development kits that supported Apple Pay.
Now Stripe services 25 countries and positions itself as one of the top payment companies on the market, in the ranks of PayPal and BrainTree. With the help from Control, Stripe is empowering merchants and business managers to take charge of their companies anywhere they go. Putting a high priority on customer service and usability—the original accelerants for the company—Stripe is growing strong in a constantly evolving ecosystem.
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