“In The Studio,” How Patrick Collison Guides Stripe In The Competitive Payments World

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Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners and is a contributor to TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

“In the Studio” closes out its inaugural year by welcoming the young CEO of one of the web’s hottest startups who, before his current breakthrough, immigrated from Ireland, dropped out of MIT, founded and sold his first company, and is now taking on an industry with formidable land mines, competitors, and incumbents.

By now, everyone knows about Stripe, the relatively small but growing San Francisco-based payments company whose roots date back to Y Combinator. It’s no secret the company is doing well (and some people saw this early), and I’d go so far as to say that in the world of tech startups, Stripe is the breakout of 2012. And most know of co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison, who has given great talks about the story of building his startup and how he and his team have elected to take on the problem of online payments.

Since the story of Stripe is well-known, in this discussion, I wanted to share with people just how adept Collison is as a CEO operating in a high-stakes industry, especially in his handling of non-technical and management decisions. Specifically in this talk, he shares how his early team is largely built around people who have actually started their own companies in the past, how the early team made the decision to hire key non-technical executives to handle very important parts of Stripe’s complex business, and how, along the way, the company has been careful to ensure that as its head count grows, that the feeling of autonomy remains. Additionally, Collison and I discuss the trend of startups building tools and products for developers, which can be perceived differently depending on which venture investor you ask.