Niall Mulrine

Technology: The Collison’s 3 billion dollar empire

Patrick and John Collison - Silicon Republic.

Patrick and John Collison – Silicon Republic.

IT’S been a great few years for Patrick and John Collison since they cofounded their company in 2010 called Stripe.

Both brothers are Limerick born and now living in Silicon Republic Palo Alto which was made famous with the growth of the technology sector. Birthplace of Facebook, it’s no coincidence that they are working with Mark Zuckerburg on a major e-payments solution.


Earlier in 2014, Twitter announced their choice of e-payments solution for their users to purchase products directly from a tweet using the “Buy IT” button. Twitter said that the products that will be on sale will not be available elsewhere online.

PayPal founder Peter Thiel seen potential with the Collisons early
The company began with a first round seed funding venture in 2011 with the investment of $2 million from entrepreneurs Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Sequoia Capital and Andreesen Horowitz. This was not only a great financial start, but to have these people with their business heads on a team of start-ups was an amazing opportunity.

Most people would have heard of Peter Thiel as backbone of PayPal formation. The biggest online payment service that e-Bay use since its time and lots more websites are using the free service since.

Peter is a visionary when it comes to start-ups and he recently gave his advice to why lots of start-ups fail, “When you think of it as a lottery ticket, when you say, ‘This might work, this might not work, I don’t know,’ you’ve already psyched yourself into losing,”

For Patrick Collison, it all began when he won the BT Young Scientist and Technology award in 2005 for a project on a programming language he worked on. His days in IT began when he was only 10 years of age and he used to be seen around University of Limerick learning programming languages.

Put this fella in the same stead as Bill Gates, who when was young spend lots of time queuing up to get using the local massive computer in his college years before he was old enough to be a college student.
When Patrick received the prize in 2005, not many knew that he actually attempted victory the previous year, where he came a runner up. Determination, vision and failure was not an option was built into this mind-set at early age.

He went on to become a student in the infamous MIT in the states and there he setup a company called Shuppa was his brother John. After selling the company a year later, they had become millionaires for the first time. At the ages of Patrick (25) and John (23), they are on the Forbes top 30 under 30 people in Tech.


Patrick applied to Enterprise Ireland for funding for a particular project and was turned down, giving him 2 options. Either keep pushing elsewhere or hang the boots up. He had his sights on San Francisco as he knew it was the tech bubble of the world where when immersed around similar people, you will strive infinitely more than other surroundings.

Lots of start-ups sometimes get lost when turned down by funding, but focusing on the end result keeps their vision on the end product. Great to see young people get up on the world like this.

More business skills and public speaking when learnt in school would be a cornerstone for success for many young people. I believe the confidence the American college grads is summarised on how they were taken up through school days. Best of luck to the two Limerick lads.

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