Stripe is one of those, it's a stealthy startup aimed to make online payments super simple. It's being built by three Irishmen in Silicon Valley and has reportedly amassed a few million dollars in funding before it's even launched, from some of the very top investors in technology including from Paypal founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.A large number of entrepreneurs and investors are betting that the Internet is going to disrupt financial services just like it's disrupted so many other industries.
Michael Arrington got the scoop tonight, posting details on the funding of a company known about by a just few observers; Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon already followed the company on Twitter, for example, but has said before that he prefers to let other people report scoops first and then try to provide superior analysis later. This is a company we'll be hearing a whole lot about in the future. According to Arrington, Stripe has raised money from PayPal founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, Google and YouTube backers Sequoia Capital, the super-hot Andreesen Horowitz and Ron Conway's fund SV Angel. (The $2m that TechCrunch reports was invested seems surprisingly small for a crowd like that.) What makes Stripe different? It's going to focus on data portability.
Little is publicly known about Stripe so far, but here's what we've heard from a source deep inside Google.
Stripe will enable any developer to add payment and billing functionality to their own application with a JSON API that can be connected to in 5 minutes, with no branding requirements or directing users to the Stripe site. It will strive to be transparent and contemporary.
The price? "An all-inclusive commission of 5%, and a per transaction fee of $0.30." Though none of the founders originated in the US, due to the complexity of an arguably antiquated financial system, they say they will be limited at first to payments between US parties.
Founders Patrick Collison, John Collison and Darragh Buckley appear to be focused on providing a nice, clean, developer-centric payment platform that they and their investors think could take on the world.
What's Most Interesting About Stripe
What's most interesting about the company is its philosophy:
The founders of Stripe feel very strongly about data portability. We'll try to keep you with us by offering a better product than all of our competitors, but we won't keep you by locking you in. If you want to leave us for somebody else, we'll help you migrate your credit card data in a secure and PCI-compliant way. We're programmers at heart, and we strongly believe in open systems and a level playing field.
That sounds great. Given the pedigree of this startup's investors, it will likely join pre-launched developer-centric banking startup Banksimple on a short list of high-profile efforts to shake up the future of finance from the bottom up.