43. Stripe

Cracked the code on getting your internet business paid.

Founders: John Collison, Patrick Collison (CEO)
Launched: 2010
Headquarters: San Francisco
$690 million (PitchBook)
Valuation: $9.2 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Developer APIs, SaaS
Online/mobile payments, software, credit cards

George Kavallines | CNBC

Every online business needs a payment gateway in order to handle payments on their website. Stripe co-founders — brothers John and Patrick Collison — believe that the problems companies face in actually implementing payment solutions come from code and design issues, not the finance part. That's why in 2010, after both had dropped out of college, they decided to build a developer-focused, instant setup payment platform that any company could use and scale to size. Today thousands of businesses, including Lyft, Glossier, Target and Warby Parker, use Stripe's software tools to securely accept payments from customers all over the world.

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Stripe makes money by collecting a swipe fee of 2.9 percent, plus 30 cents for every transaction it processes (the same as PayPal). The company has processed billions of dollars' worth of transactions for more than 100,000 companies. It also handles scores of small businesses. In fact, the company claims that 50 percent of Americans who bought something online in the past year did it via Stripe — even if they didn't know it. In June the company introduced Sigma, a service that helps businesses quickly analyze their Stripe data to glean insights about their business and payments. Last year the company also partnered with Alipay and WeChat Pay to enable merchants using its platform globally to accept payments from hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers.

The San Francisco-based company was recently valued at $9.2 billion and has pulled in $478 million of venture money from American Express, Visa, CapitalG (Google's venture arm) and General Catalyst. No word on when — or if — it plans to go public.