The latest list of the richest people under 30 is out and only three of the top 10 wealthiest 20-somethings are self-made: Kylie Jenner (sort of), Evan Spiegel, and John Collison. Alongside his older brother Patrick, John co-founded the mobile payment app Stripe. In 2019, Stripe raised an additional $100 million in a Series E round from investment firm Tiger Global Management, boosting the payment startup's valuation to $22.5 billion and each brother's individual net worth to $2.1 billion. John is two months younger than Snapchat CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel.
John was born in Limerick, Ireland on August 6, 1990. He grew up in the small Irish village of Dromineer. John and his brother Patrick learned programming at an early age and founded their first company, Shuppa in 2007 while they were still in high school in Limerick, Ireland. John was a very good student and earned the highest possible grades on his final exams in high school. John had been accepted to Harvard and headed to the U.S. for college in 2009. Shuppa later merged with another Collison brothers company, Auctomatic, and John dropped out of Harvard to move to Silicon Valley. The company built software for eBay sellers. The Collison brothers sold that company for $5 million while they were still teenagers and the brothers got to work on founding the company that developed into Stripe.
Stripe was created to solve a problem among app developers. The Internet and smartphones had made it easy to build and launch products that had global reach, however, getting paid for those products was still incredibly complicated. So, the Collisons created a system that enabled people to accept payments instantly. Stripe launched in 2011 and it caught on quickly. Early investors in Stripe include Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Max Levchin, who all had roles in founding PayPal, as well as Sequoia Capital. In the early days, the Collison brothers did everything; they wrote the code, handled customer service issues, and went out to pitch their new service to potential clients. Today, the brothers have employees to handle a lot of the workload while John deals with sales and partnerships and Patrick focuses on engineering and being the face of the company. In the beginning, John and Patrick rode their bikes to the Stripe offices every day. Despite already being millionaires, they were simply too frugal to buy a car.
Today, Stripe has more than 2,000 employees in its San Francisco offices. As a billionaire, Collison, a licensed pilot, enjoys flying planes in his free time. He also runs and hikes, often with his Stripe employees.