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Meet the 20-something Stripe founders who are now worth more than $1 billion each

Patrick and John Collison have come a long way from the quiet village outside of Limerick, Ireland where they grew up.

With little around except "mooing cows," the brothers turned to coding to occupy themselves. To access the internet, their parents had to buy a special satellite.

In 2011 the Collisons founded Stripe, an online payment processing company whose backers include Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. Today, Patrick, 28, and John, 26, are billionaires who live in a sun-drenched apartment in San Francisco, and newcomers to Forbes's billionaires list. Each is worth an estimated $1.1 billion.

Their success is due in large part to an obsession with technology and coding — each of the brothers taught themselves to code before the age of 10.

"I went to the bookstore on a Saturday, I bought a book about programming, and I started programming," Patrick tells The Financial Times.

Later, they both briefly attended prestigious universities. Patrick dropped out of MIT and John dropped out of Harvard University to co-found their first start-up, Auctomatic, a marketplace management system for companies like eBay.

John Collison, co-founder of Stripe.
Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg via Getty Images
John Collison, co-founder of Stripe.

They would sell Auctomatic for $5 million and move on to their next idea, developing an easy way to accept mobile payments online.

In 2009, the brothers started writing code for what would become Stripe. Soon after, they secured funding from start-up incubator Y Combinator, where they caught the attention of investors Thiel and Musk.

In 2016, John became the world's youngest self-made billionaire, taking the title from Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel. Today, Patrick is Stripe's CEO and John is its president.

When they're not running the company they co-founded, both are avid readers (the two are said to own more than 600 books) who like to run and travel.

Along with their talents, the brothers' trademark humility — despite their billionaire status — has earned them the confidence and enthusiasm of investors and clients.

"Heartening as the success to date has been, we are so early in accomplishing the goals that we set out for ourselves," Patrick told Forbes in 2016. "If anyone here believes that Stripe has already made it, that would be hugely problematic for us."

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