John Collinson: Meet The World’s Youngest Self-Made Billionaire

John Collinson, from a small village in County Tipperary, Ireland has impressively been acclaimed the world’s youngest self-made billionaire with an estimated worth of $1.1 billion (£830 million).

The 27-year-old Irishman is the president and co-founder of Stripe – a tech company designed to transform the way websites accept online payments.

Stripe which was founded in 2010, designs software systems that enable companies around the world to easily accept online payments and run their websites.

The company “eliminates needless complexity and extraneous details” for websites. It simplifies online business transactions for businesses by allowing them to integrate payment processing into their websites, instead of forcing users to register and make an account every time.

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John co-founded the San Francisco-based company with his 29-year-old brother Patrick in 2011, and both are now worth more than a billion dollars each. The company which employs 750 people worldwide and used by more than 100,000 companies including big companies like Facebook, is valued at $9.2bn (£7bn).

The brothers, who grew up in the tiny village of Dromineer, both excelled in school from a young age. Even before college, John and Patrick had become millionaires through a software firm they launched that made it easier for sellers to manage transactions on eBay. However, the firm – Auctomatic was eventually sold in 2008 for $5m (£3.8m) a year after they had set up its first iteration.

In 2009, John left his village for the US to study physics at Harvard University but by the next year, he dropped out.

Earlier in 2007, Patrick was admitted to study maths at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge but the Collison tech moguls both dropped out of university to launch what would become Stripe in Silicon Valley, California.

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Though there are various companies trying to help other firms process online payments, Stripe boasts of a simple business model and simple code and has managed to grow rapidly.

“You might wonder what is hard about starting an [online] business.

“Creating a product that people actually want to buy, and getting them to hear about it, all that we could handle. But getting money from people over the internet was extremely difficult.

“I remember saying to Patrick ‘how hard can it be? Maybe we should give it a try?” John told the BBC in an interview.

However, John and Patrick presumably remain humble and loyal to their roots despite their huge accomplishments.

“People ask ‘How has your life changed?’ a lot and I feel like they always want some really interesting answer – and I have nothing for them.

“They want me to have taken up some elaborate new hobby, like Faberge egg collecting or yacht racing,” Collinson told the BBC.

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According to him, one of the things he enjoys most in his spare time which is a “very practical, low maintenance hobby,” is going for a run. He also likes to compete.

Given that 5 per cent of consumer spending around the world is currently online, the ambitious brothers are highly optimistic about their business.

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”We are indexed to the growth of the internet economy. As long as the internet economy continues to grow, Stripe will continue to grow,” Collinson told the BBC.


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