Move over, SpaceX and Instacart: Payments processing company Stripe is now the most valuable startup in America.
Stripe announced Sunday a new $600 million round of funding at a valuation of $95 billion, nearly tripling its last valuation of $36 billion.
The new funding vaults Stripe ahead of Instacart, which recently raised new financing at a valuation of $39 billion, as well as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is now valued at $74 billion, according to research firm CB Insights. (Still, Chinese TikTok owner Bytedance still easily retains the title of the world’s most valuable “unicorn” startup at $140 billion.)
Stripe has gotten a boost thanks to the pandemic-fueled surge in demand for online and mobile commerce.
The company, which competes with the likes of Square (SQ), PayPal (PYPL) and other tech firms in the lucrative transaction processing industry, said it will use the money from its latest capital raise to expand even further in Europe. Stripe has dual headquarters in San Francisco and Dublin.
Europe is a key region for Stripe, comprising 31 of the 42 countries where it operates. Among its well known European customers are Axel Springer, Jaguar Land Rover, Maersk, Deliveroo and Klarna.
“We’re investing a ton more in Europe this year, particularly in Ireland,” said Stripe president and co-founder John Collison, in the release. “The growth opportunity for the European digital economy is immense.”
Top global investors -— such as Allianz, Axa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, Sequoia Capital, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency — took part in the recent funding round, Stripe said.
Stripe’s growth has made it one of the most widely anticipated initial public offering candidates of 2021, though it has yet to file for an IPO or give any other clues about plans to eventually start trading on Wall Street.
The strong demand for Stripe’s payment processing services come also as demand for digital currencies such as bitcoin are surging. Bitcoin (XBT) prices hit a new all-time high above $60,000 on Saturday before pulling back Monday.
Stripe began supporting crypto payments in 2014, but then stopped accepting bitcoin for transactions in 2018 — saying it became clear that “bitcoin has evolved to become better suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange.” It had originally hoped bitcoin could eventually become a viable means of payment in places where credit cards weren’t used as much or where fees were prohibitively expensive.
But Stripe now maintains that it makes more sense to focus on processing credit card, debit card and mobile wallet transactions instead of cryptocurrencies.
The company has added some A-list names to its ranks recently to help achieve those goals. Stripe announced earlier this year that Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada, and Christa Davies, the chief financial officer of insurance broker giant Aon (AON), are now board members.