Stripe: Increasing the GDP of the Internet

By Robert Siegel, Ryan Kissick
2016 | Case No. E601 | Length 21 pgs.

In 2009, brothers Patrick and John Collison began working on a start-up called Stripe that made it simple for companies to send and receive money around the world.  By the end of 2016, Stripe had expanded far beyond an online payment mechanism.  Fueled by a belief that the Internet and developers would drive rapid economic growth across the world, Stripe created tools for social commerce and online marketplaces, as well as products to facilitate the creation and management of new businesses.  Having raised nearly $450 million, Stripe was sufficiently funded to take advantage of a variety of industry tailwinds, including growth in global e-commerce, the proliferation of smartphones and mobile applications, and a rise in social media usage, among others.

“Stripe: Increasing the GDP of the Internet” explores the challenges and opportunities faced by Stripe as it expanded from a small start-up to a company valued at $9 billion.  Specific obstacles addressed in the case include: evaluating business opportunities, prioritizing new customers and markets, and assessing competition in a rapidly changing market.  In a world with seemingly endless opportunities, the Collison brothers would have to be ruthless in prioritizing Stripe’s product pipeline, geographical expansion, and partnerships, while continuing to provide value for Stripe’s existing customers.

Learning Objective

The Stripe case highlights several learning objectives: 1) Prioritizing various opportunities in a rapidly growing market; 2) Assessing competition (start-ups and large financial companies); 3) Understanding the shifting market dynamics in the e-commerce and payments spaces.
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