Wednesday 18 October 2017

Business week in 60 seconds

Irish brothers' start-up raises $80m, value soars to $1.75bn

EARNING HIS STRIPES: Patrick Collison
EARNING HIS STRIPES: Patrick Collison
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

WHAT a week for Limerick's Collison brothers – 25-year-old Patrick and 23-year-old John. Stripe, the online payments firm they founded, has managed to raise $80m (€58.5m) in funding from venture capital investors in a deal that could value the company at a hefty $1.75bn.

The transaction places the 90-person San Francisco firm in the rarefied company of start-ups valued at more than $1bn just three years after the brothers debuted the service.

The start-up's rapid growth has spurred talk in Silicon Valley of an insurgent threat to PayPal, the eBay subsidiary that has not faced serious competition in a decade.

SANDBERG'S FORTUNE TOPS $1BN

THE Collisons may very well be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, whose fortune has now passed the $1bn mark.

Sandberg has collected more than $300m selling shares since the company's 2012 initial public offering and owns about 4.7 million stock options that began vesting last May.

The 44-year-old is one of the youngest female billionaires in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index this week.

"Did she do a billion dollars-worth of work? I don't know," David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, a history of the company, said.

"She had the good fortune to land in the right place where her talents could really be applauded."

100 IT jobs on cards for Dublin

AND in more good news for the tech-sector, Dublin-based start-up Intercom, which creates online business communication software, announced on Wednesday that it had secured funding of €17m. This would lead to the creation of 100 new jobs.

The funding round came from through Bessemer Venture Partners, a company that has previously invested in LinkedIn, Skype, Pinterest and other large web firms.

The company, founded by Eoghan McCabe, Des Traynor, David Barrett and Ciaran Lee, said the jobs will be in engineering and product development.

MARKETS GIVE NOONAN A BOOST

THE week started off on a high for Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Ratings giant Moodys had finally raised the rating on Ireland's bonds from junk.

And the markets reacted favourably when they opened on Monday morning, with borrowing costs falling below the rate being charged to the UK. It meant that investors would lend to the Government at the same rate they charged the US for five-year loans, and it was the first time since the financial crisis that Irish borrowing costs had slipped below the UK.

They rose again before the end of the week, however, and were at 1.72 per cent, compared with 1.67 per cent for the UK. But it gave both Mr Noonan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny a spring in their step as they headed off to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

LONE STAR SNAPS UP IBRC LOANS

ON Thursday we got the latest update on what's happening with IBRC's loan book. Debt linked to Hickey's Pharmacies and Fields Jewellers could be handed over to US private equity firm Lone Star as early as next month.

The Dallas-based investment group has been confirmed as the successful bidder for loans that make up 'Tranche 14' of the IBRC loan portfolio known as Project Evergreen.

The same buyer has also snapped up a portfolio of loans known as Project Holly from NAMA, which is secured on offices, hotels and land in Dublin and Meath.

Irish Independent

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