13. Stripe

Global e-payments

Founders: Patrick Collison (CEO), John Collison
Launched: 2010
Headquarters: San Francisco
$785 million
Valuation: $22.5 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Developer APIs and SaaS
Global e-payments

George Kavallines | CNBC

Doing business globally means being able to accept payments from customers wherever they are. Brothers John and Patrick Collison started Stripe in 2010 to make that whole process easier. The hurdle with payment platforms, as they saw it, wasn't on the finance side. Difficulties were more often because of coding and design issues. That's when they decided to build a developer-focused, instant setup payment platform that any company could use and scale.

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Today thousands of companies, including Amazon, Google, Under Armour, and Slack, use Stripe's software tools to securely accept payments from anywhere in the world. The company makes money by charging these customers a swipe fee of 2.9%, plus 30 cents for every transaction it processes (the same as PayPal).

And as online commerce continues to explode, Stripe is participating in the growth. In September it announced the opening of a new global engineering hub in Singapore — to join its existing hubs in San Francisco, Seattle and Dublin — to help serve the burgeoning online commerce market in Southeast Asia and India. And in March the company secured an e-money license from Ireland's Central Bank, which would allow Stripe to continue to process payments for users across Europe, regardless of how the Brexit negotiations turn out.

The San Francisco-based company raised an additional $100 million in January from Tiger Global Management, bringing its valuation to a staggering $22.5 billion. It has attracted investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk and Google's venture arm Google G, among others, according to Pitchbook. Neither Collison brother will say if — or when — the company plans to go public.

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