John Collison, 27-year-old Harvard dropout, world youngest self-made billionaire


John Collison the cofounder and president of Stripe

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  • John Collison, the co-founder and president of Stripe, is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at 27.
  • He started Stripe, designed to transform the way people make online payments, with his older brother when he was just 19.
  • Originally from a small town in Ireland, he came to the US to attend Harvard – until he dropped out to focus on Stripe in Silicon Valley.

John Collison founded the tech company Stripe in 2010 when he was only 19.

Now Collison, 27, can call himself the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, with a net worth totalling $1.1 billion after Stripe’s $9 billion valuation in 2016. The company was designed to transform the way websites accept online payments, and it’s a favourite of huge companies like Lyft and Facebook.

Collison started the company with his older brother Patrick, Stripe’s CEO. Though the siblings have struck Silicon Valley gold, they haven’t forgotten their humble roots in small-town Ireland.

Today, Collison enjoys flying planes, running, and hiking with members of the Stripe team.

Read on to learn more about the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

John was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1990, and his family eventually settled in the small village of Dromineer.

Collison, a brilliant student, finished with the highest possible marks on his Leaving Certificate, the equivalent of final exams in the US.

A cottage in Limerick, Ireland, where Collison was born. Shutterstock

Collison was accepted into Harvard before even taking his final exams, which he aced anyway.

Before he entered college, Collison had already become a millionaire with his older brother Patrick. They had launched a software firm that made it easier for sellers to manage transactions on eBay.

The eBay.com homepage in 2009. eBay

Collison came to the US to study physics at Harvard in 2009. “It is a weird thing — people are almost surprised that I’m going to college,” he told Ireland’s Independent at the time. “There’s absolutely no doubt that college is what I want to do.”

Jannis Tobias Werner/Shutterstock

However, by the next year, Collison had changed his tune — he dropped out and headed to Silicon Valley with Patrick to start what would become Stripe.

Patrick and John Collison.

At first, the brothers rode their bikes to their Palo Alto office every day, in part because they were too cheap to buy a car.

At first, the brothers rode their bikes to their Palo Alto office every day, in part because they were too cheap to buy a car.
Bicyclists viewing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, now the home of Stripe headquarters.

Stripe made its public debut in 2011. The company aimed to simplify the way businesses accepted online transactions by allowing them to integrate payment processing into their websites, instead of forcing users to register and make an account every time.

By 2015, Stripe was valued at $5 billion, and in November 2016, it spiked to a whopping $9.2 billion. The valuation brought Collison’s fortune to $1.1 billion, making him the youngest self-made billionaire in the world at age 26.

By 2015, Stripe was valued at $5 billion, and in November 2016, it spiked to a whopping $9.2 billion. The valuation brought Collison's fortune to $1.1 billion, making him the youngest self-made billionaire in the world at age 26.

Today, the company employs 750 people and is run out of San Francisco. Its customers include huge companies like Lyft and Facebook.

Today, the company employs 750 people and is run out of San Francisco. Its customers include huge companies like Lyft and Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose company uses Stripe to facilitate online transactions.

Collison is a licensed pilot and enjoys flying in his free time.

He’s also an avid hiker and runner, often participating in company excursions and fun runs with his coworkers.

He posts pictures on social media of his adventures with fellow Stripe employees, like this trip up Mount Tamalpais in the Bay Area.

Mike Moritz, a Stripe board member, told Bloomberg that the Collisons were more “humble and well-rounded” than your average tech moguls. “There’s such an improbability to their story — that these brothers from a little village would come to build what could well be one of the most important companies on the internet,” he said.

Source: Business Insider

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