Processing payments may not sound like exciting business, but recent innovations could reinvent the industry as we know it.
One company leading the way is Stripe, a California startup that’s making it easier for online businesses to process payments from a wide variety of sources with a seamless, beautiful interface.
Founded by brothers John and Patrick Collison in 2010, the company has expanded at a record pace.
After building software and selling it through the Internet, the Collison brothers had become increasingly frustrated with the complex online-payments process. They had so many problems accepting payments that they often gave away their software for free. So they decided to remedy the problem.
“On almost every front, it was becoming easier to build and launch an Internet business,” Billy Alvarado, Stripe’s chief business officer, told Opportunity Lives. “Payments, however, remained dominated by clunky legacy players.”
Today, Stripe makes it much easier for entrepreneurs to build Internet businesses. Streamlining the entire payment process makes buying things online safer and easier for consumers while cutting down the time it takes business owners to set up a payment platform.
“Stripe’s mission is to build the technical infrastructure that will accelerate globalization, economies and the Internet itself,” Alvarado said.
Stripe is already processing payments for well-known companies such as Lyft, Kickstarter, Twitter and Pinterest.
Even though the Internet has improved connectivity for billions of people across the globe, moving money is still relatively difficult. Many still resort to services such as Western Union. This hampers the growth of new Internet startups and hurts economic opportunity.
“Most people are essentially prevented from participating in the Internet economy altogether,” Alvarado explained. “They don’t have a credit card or their bank doesn’t allow them to accept online payments. Solving that is our biggest challenge.”
There is still much work to be done in Internet commerce, and Stripe is aiming to lead the way in modernizing Internet payments. By removing the barriers to Internet transactions by creating an easy-to-use technical infrastructure, Stripe is encouraging the growth of other companies.
Just recently, the company launched Atlas, a service aimed at helping entrepreneurs do more than seamlessly accept payments. “In just a few clicks, Atlas entrepreneurs can: (1) incorporate a U.S. business entity; (2) obtain a U.S. bank account and tax ID number; (3) set up a Stripe account to receive payments from anywhere in the world; and (4) access basic services they’ll need to get started, including tax advice from [PriceWaterhouseCoopers] and legal advice from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and tools from AWS (including $15,000 in credit),” said Alvarado.
With so many hoops to jump through, entrepreneurs are usually stressed and overwhelmed. Stripe’s one-stop shop for entrepreneurs helps them to worry less about the regulations and technical payment-processing details and more about their core business.