$9 billion Stripe launches a new partner program as it goes after even larger customers

StripeStripe Chief Operating Officer Claire Hughes Johnson
  • $US9 billion payments processing startup Stripe is launching a formal partner program.
  • Essentially, developers and outside companies can build products that integrate with Stripe, with a fancy Stripe Verified badge for their troubles.
  • Stripe COO Claire Hughes Johnson says that there’s big opportunity: Stripe makes $US1 for every $US1.61 that partners make with their integrated products, she says.
  • For Stripe, the timing comes from the fact that the company is being pulled upmarket, serving larger customers like Facebook and Salesforce – and could use the help from partners.

Bill Gates gets a lot of credit for his very early insight that even a company like Microsoft can’t go it alone – you need partners to build new products on top of your own, so you can reach more customers.

Now payments startup Stripe, last valued at $US9 billion, is taking a page from that playbook with the launch of its first-ever official partner program. Under this Stripe Verified program, outside products will be labelled with the designation of official partner, and a listing on a “Works With Stripe” web portal.

In an interview, Stripe COO Claire Hughes Johnson tells Business Insider that while the company has millions of businesses relying on its technology, it’s being increasingly “pulled upmarket,” she says: After years of primarily serving startups and smaller businesses, Stripe is starting to snag larger customers like Facebook and Salesforce.

Those larger customers have complex needs, though, and Stripe isn’t necessarily equipped to meet all of them. This is where the 200 or so Stripe Verified partners come in.

“I think this is an obvious next step for us,” says Hughes Johnson.

It includes so-called platform partners like Squarespace and Shopify, which both let you set up online storefronts and accept payments via Stripe. The other kind of partner comes in the form of extensions that let you import your payments data into accounting tools like Xero, or into analytics tools like Segment that help you crunch the numbers.

While Stripe has long allowed developers to hook into its services, this is the first time that it’s certifying that the connections are secure and the integrations stable. The existing base of integrations made it easier to get the “Works With Stripe” program off the ground with so many partners at the jump, says Hughes Johnson.

She says that the opportunity for those partners is immense. By the company’s own calculations, a partner will make $US1.61 for every $US1 that Stripe pulls in.

“That’s only going to go up,” says Hughes Johnson.

Indeed, Stripe will co-sell some partner solutions, meaning that it will offer select enterprise customers a mix of its own services, and those of its partners. The partners get more inroads to customers, and Stripe can better suit enterprise client needs, says Hughes Johnson.

Taking a huge step back, Hughes Johnson says that the Stripe Verified program speaks to the company’s mission of “raising the GDP of the internet,” as she put it.

Stripe allows businesses to take payments, which is especially important in international markets where that’s easier said than done. Giving those same businesses a set of interconnected, cross-compatible tools to help them manage that same business will accelerate their growth, says Hughes Johnson.

And while Stripe has launched plenty of tools of its own beyond payments – the Stripe Radar analytics tool, for instance, or most recently,Stripe Issuing, which lets customers issue their own debit cards – Hughes Johnson says that she’s not worried about competing with partners. The internet economy is young enough, she says, that there’s a lot of room for partners to dig into their own niches without overlapping with each other or Stripe itself.

“The opportunity is huge,” says Hughes Johnson.

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