Stripe, the San Francisco-based startup that helps e-commerce sites accept online and mobile payments, thinks you ought to go international--in a big way. The company announced Tuesday that it is launching a service that allows businesses to accept payments in 130 currencies. That is a huge increase from the four currencies Stripe has previously supported, and it's designed to give business owners a step up when it comes to competing for international customers.
"We think it's pretty exciting, and it fits in with the general Stripe mission of making payments totally seamless online," says John Collison, who co-founded Stripe in 2011 with his brother Patrick. "This is something that previously a handful of larger merchants would have done, but now it's available for everyone."
Stripe, which builds payments infrastructure for Web developers, is already processing payments from 12 countries, but until now, business owners using Stripe were limited in the number of transactions they could actually complete. And, according to Collison, adding currencies themselves is an arduous task for which most startup founders don't have the capacity. "The fact that many merchants don’t do it today isn't an indication that it's not a useful feature for them," he says. "It's just that it's traditionally been so cumbersome and onerous that many of them don't do it."
Collison says he's hoping that the new feature will enable Stripe users to increase conversion rates and expand their businesses internationally. This, not coincidentally, will also help Stripe grow, given that the company earns revenue not through monthly subscriptions but by taking a small percentage of all Stripe transactions.
This news comes on the heels of an $80 million funding round for Stripe announced in late January that valued the startup at $1.75 billion. The round, which included investments from Peter Thiel, Sequoia Ventures, and Khosla Ventures's Keith Rabois, formerly COO of Square, will enable Stripe to build its international footprint and increase its head count. With only 90 employees, Stripe has a relatively lean organization compared with competitors like PayPal.
According to Collison, one reason Stripe has been able to accomplish so much with so few people is because nearly a quarter of its employees are former founders themselves. "Given that Stripe is up and running in 12 countries and has only 90 people on staff," he says, "it helps if those people are extremely entrepreneurial."