Stripe is a super-hyped Silicon Valley-based startup that is trying to kill eBay-owned PayPal. Stripe thinks it can win by making it very easy for Web developers and app-makers to accept payments from their users.
It is run by a CEO in his 20s named Patrick Collison, and his younger brother John.
One of the strangest things about the Collisons’ startup – or perhaps, one of the strangest things about Paypal – is that list of people who are funding Stripe.
Three of its biggest individual backers are people who played a key role in making PayPal a success: cofounders Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, along with Elon Musk, who joined PayPal through an acquisition.
Why would Thiel, Levchin, and Musk fund a machine, built destroy their baby?
Probably because, in Silicon Valley, PayPal is viewed as a lost cause. We’ve heard a lot of complaints about how awful and hard it is to implement.
It’s also hard for end users.
This tweet from tech-interested actor Stephen Fry, summarizes them best:
Ugh! @PayPal is like being trapped in an infinite loop of horror. You change your p’word every 3 mins to log in. No luck. To hell with them.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) June 15, 2013
Until the first quarter, Paypal appeared to be one of eBay’s healthiest businesses.
Is more deceleration on the way?
Stripe isn’t the only well-funded startup going after what it views as a decrepit, disrupt-ble incumbent. Jack Dorsey’s Square is too, and it’s now worth billions of dollars. Another heavily funded startup, Braintree, owns the technology millions of people use to pay for things inside apps like Uber. Finally, some of eBay’s bigger rivals such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are gunning for PayPal too.
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