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Stripe's Irish co-founder on becoming a billionaire: 'I still live a relatively unchanged life'

John Collison is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

Image: Youtube

THE IRISH MAN who co-founded US online payments company Stripe has said that he still lives a relatively unchanged life despite having a paper value north of $1 billion.

John Collison also said that he is at Stripe for the long-haul, and added that the decision to fingerprint online payments has proved to be a positive move for the company’s business.

Limerick brothers Patrick, 28, and John Collison, 26, set up Stripe shortly after leaving secondary school.

The company, which makes software for website owners to accept online payments, was recently estimated to be worth over $9 billion after closing a $150 million funding round.

This deal made John Collison the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. It is estimated that the shares that the two brothers hold in their company are both worth $1.1 billion (€1 billion).

According to Forbes business magazine there are only three self-made billionaires under 30: the Collisons and Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy.

stripe collisons John (left) and Patrick Collison Source: Pamela Littky/Stripe

Paper billionaire

However, speaking to the Financial Times Tech Tonic podcast, John Collison said that people can focus too much on the paper net worth of an individual.

“I think that people tend to get very hung up on these calculations of paper money and doing back-of-the-envelope maths based on that,” he said.

“A lot of the common press narrative … tends to focus on the narrative that everyone wants to put on these (young) companies – young grasshoppers, overnight they create some app and suddenly they’re off to the races.

“We’ve been working on Stripe now for eight years and we plan on working on it for the next decade. It’s not quite as overnight as people make it out to be.”

He added: “Honestly, at least for me, if we were in this for the money I think we would’ve gone and sold Stripe by now or done something different.”

jon collison youtube 2 John Collison Source: Youtube

“I still live a relatively unchanged life from the life I lived five years ago in that I get up, I go for a run, I go to work and that’s most of the workday.”

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Fingerprint payments

Collison also said that the Stripe wants to streamline the way that people buy products online, and said that mobile payments made by fingerprint are proving to be good for its business.

“The traditional way of buying stuff with credit cards online is a bit ludicrous,” he said.

“You remember mail order forms from the 1980s, (where) it’s like you’re filling out everything you want from the catalogue and sending it off? The traditional credit card forms online are basically the internet equivalent of that.

“The move to much more secure and much quicker fingerprint authenticated payment is huge and it’s good for our business because it makes more online business feasible.”

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Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Fora.ie

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