Amazon.com Inc.

2. Stripe

Persephone Kavallines

Founders: Patrick Collison (CEO), John Collison
Launched: 2010
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding:
$2.4 billion (PitchBook)
Valuation: $95 billion (PitchBook)
Industry:
Fintech
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 6 (No. 1 in 2020)

Next to Robinhood, Stripe remains one of the largest private companies yet to make a highly anticipated Wall Street debut. Brothers John and Patrick Collison started the company in 2010 with the mission of "increasing the GDP of the internet." Both in their thirties, today the two brothers are each worth over $11 billion.

The hurdle with payment platforms, as they saw it early on, wasn't on the finance side. Difficulties more often were due to coding and design issues. That's when they decided to build a developer-focused instant-setup payment platform any company could use and scale.

Today, thousands of companies do, including Amazon, Slack, Glossier, Shopify and Under Armour. 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). 

Stripe's payments software brought in early investments from PayPal alumni Peter Thiel and Elon Musk. In the last year, its valuation has soared to $95 billion. Despite its ballooning growth and valuation, the founders have stayed tight-lipped about the prospect of a Wall Street debut, with John Collison telling CNBC last year that the company has "no plans" to go public right away.

Stripe has seen eye-popping growth during the pandemic as its revenue is largely tied to growth in online shopping. In its previous funding round last April, Stripe was early to highlight the Covid-19 outbreak as "pushing the economy online" and said "several years of offline-to-online migration are being compressed into several weeks."

"We're investing in the infrastructure that will power internet commerce in 2030 and beyond," wrote chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara, who joined the company in August after moving out of her role as General Motors' CFO. "The pandemic taught us many things about society, including how much can be achieved — and paid for — online, but the internet still isn't the engine for global economic progress that it could be."

Last month, the company announced its expansion into the Middle East and North Africa, with plans to open offices in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.

In December, the company launched banking services through partnerships with Goldman SachsCitigroup, Barclays and Evolve Bank & Trust.

Earlier this year, Stripe invested $102 million in a Series B round for Fast — a smaller online checkout company based in San Francisco. Stripe, which also led the start-up's Series A, is the underlying payments rails for Fast's checkout product.

Contributed by Riley de León

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