Explained: What is Stripe, the US startup valued at $95 billion

What has been Stripe's story in India? How is India’s B2B payments industry shaped?

With a $600 million fundraise announced early Monday, San Francisco and Dublin headquartered financial technology firm Stripe has become the highest valued startup in the US with a valuation of $95 billion.

The company, in its announcement, also said that in 2021 it will expand its presence to India, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and the UAE.

What is Stripe?

The Irish-American financial services company mainly offers payments processing software and APIs for firms conducting business online through websites and mobile applications. Its customers include firms such as Amazon, Uber, Doordash, booking.com, Salesforce, Zoom, Slack, Shopify, Peloton, and several others across verticals such as e-commerce and retail, B2B platforms, SaaS platforms, B2C marketplaces, and non-profits. Among its investors are marquee names such as Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, American Express, Visa, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, and Allianz X.

What has been Stripe’s story in India?

In December 2017, the company established its presence in the country. A year before, it had hired former Amazon executive Anand Balaji to lead the building of a product tailored for India. However, Stripe only went as far as a beta program with a small group of companies, and did not make any notable inroads beyond that.

The company, however, has expressed its bullishness on India’s payments market on earlier occasions as well. In September 2018, while announcing a fundraise, the company said it was looking to better position itself in key overseas markets like Southeast Asia and India.

It expected more than 500 million people in these regions to become online customers in the succeeding three years.

How is India’s B2B payments industry shaped?

There are a number of companies, mostly fin-tech startups offering payment gateways and APIs to businesses, small and large, for online payments processing. These include startups such as Razorpay, PayU, CCAvenue, Instamojo, and Paytm. On average, payments processing companies in India charge 2-3% commission for payments done through their gateways.

For foreign companies, the commercial payments business has not been an easy ride. This is mainly because of various regulations around local data storage, mandatory local presence, the appointment of Indian officials, etc.

According to a report by TechCrunch, less than four years after it launched its operations in India, PayPal is expected to shut down its domestic business effective April 1. Quoting the company, the report said that PayPal processed $1.4 billion worth of international sales for Indian merchants last year. It had amassed more than 3.6 lakh merchants in the country.

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