CNBC Disruptor 50

8. Stripe

Founders: Patrick Collison (CEO), John Collison
Launched: 2010
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding:
$2.2 billion (PitchBook)
Valuation: $95 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
N/A
Industry:
Fintech
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 7 (No. 2 in 2021)

Persephone Kavallines

San Francisco-based Stripe makes software that processes payments for e-commerce businesses and became the most valuable private venture-backed company last year, surpassing Elon Musk's SpaceX at $95 billion. Musk, along with PayPal alumni Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, were early investors in the company's payments software.

Founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison in 2010, Stripe has grown from a tech upstart to a payments powerhouse processing billions of dollars in transactions each year for the likes of AmazonGoogle and Shopify. The company makes money by charging these customers a swipe fee of 2.9%, plus 30 cents for every transaction it processes.

Stripe has been in no rush to go public, with co-founder John Collison saying, "We're very happy as a private company," in an interview with CNBC's Hadley Gamble at the Fintech Abu Dhabi festival in November.

With the IPO market slowed to a crawl and the valuations of many late-stage, high-growth VC-backed companies that have gone public in recent years under pressure, the company may need to wait longer. Bloomberg had reported as late as last September that the fintech was considering a public offering this year, but the environment for deals has worsened. The rocky market has hit Stripe directly, with an earlier stage fintech focused on checkout technology that it had led a round of investment in, Fast, shutting down in April.

Stripe has expanded into a number of other areas in finance, including loans and tax management, and recently encroached on the turf of fellow Disruptor Plaid when it announced a technology to connect directly with user bank accounts.

Last month, the company said it will begin allowing businesses to pay their users via cryptocurrencies, starting with Twitter. Stripe recently formed a team dedicated to exploring crypto and Web3.

It is also teaming up with several other companies, including Google parent Alphabet and Facebook parent Meta, to purchase $925 million worth of permanent carbon removal from companies that are developing the technology.

New geographies factor in its growth plans as well, with a push into the Persian Gulf region.

Notable Stripe investors include Baillie Gifford, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, among others. The company topped CNBC's Disruptor 50 list two years ago.

Sign up for our weekly, original newsletter that goes beyond the annual Disruptor 50 list, offering a closer look at list-making companies and their innovative founders.