|Stripe closes $600M round at a $95B valuation|
Ingrid Lunden @ingridlunden
4:59 PM CDT•March 14, 2021
On the heels of reports that Stripe was raising yet more money, the payments giant has now confirmed the details. The company has closed in on another $600 million, at a valuation of $95 billion.
Stripe said it will use the funding to expand its business in Europe, with a focus on its European HQ, and also to beef up its global payments and treasury network.
“We’re investing a ton more in Europe this year, particularly in Ireland,” said John Collison, President and co-founder of Stripe, in a statement. “Whether in fintech, mobility, retail or SaaS, the growth opportunity for the European digital economy is immense.”
Stripe said the financing included backing from two major insurance players. Allianz, via its Allianz X fund, and Axa are in the round, along with Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital, and an investor from the founders’ home country, Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).
The insurance angle may point to which direction the company is looking to go next. After all, fintech and insurance are closely aligned.
“Stripe is an accelerator of global economic growth and a leader in sustainable finance. We are convinced that, despite making great progress over the last 10 years, most of Stripe’s success is yet to come” said Conor O’Kelly, CEO of NTMA in a statement. “We’re delighted to back Ireland’s and Europe’s most prominent success story, and, in doing so, to help millions of other ambitious companies become more competitive in the global economy.”
The big round, rising valuation, and growing cap table will inevitably lead to questions around where the company is standing with regards to its next steps, and whether that will include a public listing. Stripe has long kept its cards to its chest when it comes to user numbers, revenues, and profit and those details, once again, are not being disclosed with the news today, and nor has it made any comments on IPO plans.
Notably, the confirmation of the news today is at a lower valuation than the valuation Stripe was reportedly trading at on the secondary market, which was $115 billion; and the round that closed at a $95 billion valuation was also rumored to be coming in at a higher number, over $100 billion.
It’s not clear whether those numbers were never accurate, or if Covid had an impact on pricing, or if European investors simply drove a hard bargain.
The focus on growing in Europe also puts the hiring of Peter Barron — the former EMEA VP of communications for Google and a former journalist — into some context.
Founded in 2010 by John and his brother Patrick Collison (the CEO), Stripe is one of a wave of commerce startups that saw the value of building a simple way for developers to integrate payments into any app or site by way of a few lines of code, at a time when digital and specifically online payments were starting to take off.
Behind that code, the company had done all the hard work of integrating all the different and complex pieces needed to make payments work both in countries and across borders. Over the years, the company has built out a bigger platform around that, a suite of services to position itself as a one-stop shop not just for helping businesses run all of the commercial aspects of their operations, including incorporation, managing fraud, managing cashflow and more.
Within that, Stripe has built out a decent footprint in Europe, with the region accounting for 31 of the 42 countries where it has customers today. While Stripe may have had its start and early traction providing payments infrastructure for startups (and especially small, new startups), today that list includes a lot of big names, too. In Europe, customers include Axel Springer, Jaguar Land Rover, Maersk, Metro, Mountain Warehouse and Waitrose, alongside Deliveroo (UK), Doctolib (France), Glofox (Ireland), Klarna (Sweden), ManoMano (France), N26 (Germany), UiPath (Romania) and Vinted (Lithuania).
Even with heavy competition in payments and adjacent services, there is a huge opportunity for more growth. Stripe says that in the wake of Covid and the rise of people shopping considerably more across the web and apps rather than in person, currently some 14% of commerce happens online, a big shift considering that just a year ago it was about 10%.