Snapchat's Evan Spiegel is no longer the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. Stripe co-founder John Collison has taken his place. Collison founded mobile payment app Stripe alongside his brother Patrick. After a 2016 funding round that raised $150 million, Stripe is valued at $9.2 billion; nearly double its previous valuation of $5 billion.
As a result, the Irish brothers are worth $1.2 billion each. At 27, John Collison is now officially the world's youngest self-made billionaire. John is two months younger than Snapchat CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel. Collison started the company with his older brother Patrick. Though the siblings have struck Silicon Valley gold, they haven't forgotten their roots in small-town Ireland.
John was born in Limerick, Ireland in 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, Auctomatic, while they were still in high school. The company built software for eBay sellers. The Collison brothers sold that company for $5 million while they were still teenagers.
John was a very good student and earned the highest possible grades on his final exams in high school. He had been accepted to Harvard and headed to the U.S. in 2009. A year later he dropped out and he and his brother Patrick moved to Palo Alto, California to found the company that developed into Stripe.
Stripe was created to solve a problem among app developers. The Internet and smart phones 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 developers to accept payments instantly. Stripe launched in 2011 and it caught on quickly. 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 Patrick focuses on engineering and being the face of the company and John deals with sales and partnerships.
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 750 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.