Business Technology

Sunday 21 September 2014

Collison 
brothers close to deal on 
'buy now' 
button for Twitter

Published 26/08/2014 | 02:30

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John Collison
Patrick Collison

Irish payments firm Stripe is reportedly at an advanced stage of helping Twitter to create a 'buy now' service within the social networking service.

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The deal is reportedly part of Twitter's plan to allow companies to begin selling products and services from within the Twitter stream. At present, Twitter has 'buttons' within tweets that allow subscriptions to newsletters and other marketing interests.

The move would further enhance the reputation of Stripe, which was founded by Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison and is now valued at €1.3bn after it raised €60m in funding earlier this year,

At present, Twitter is heavily reliant on advertising, which lags behind rivals such as Facebook and Google. Although it is unclear whether Stripe is set to be the only company behind Twitter in-stream payments, the development would cement Stripe's reputation as one of the world's most important companies in the online payments business.

Stripe's deal with Twitter was first reported on industry news website Recode. Representatives of Twitter and Stripe declined to comment on the matter.

In June, Stripe announced a deal with the Chinese payments giant Alipay that opens it up to China's 1.3 billion consumers. At present, one billion people outside China carry credit cards that can be used with the firm's payments system.

The company is also dipping a toe into the world of virtual currencies, with a €2.2m investment in a rival virtual currency to bitcoin. Called Stellar, the open source initiative is an attempt at "figuring out how to efficiently move money", according to Stripe's chief technical officer, Greg Brockman. Over 500,000 people have signed up to receive the new currency in its first two weeks.

Stripe's backers include top-tier technology industry investors Peter Thiel, Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Khosla Ventures.

Last week, the media magnate Rupert Murdoch described the Collisons as "brilliant" and Stripe as "outstanding".

"In San Francisco, just looking many [sic] start-ups," Mr Murdoch tweeted. "Mixed successes ahead, but Stripe, by brilliant Collison brothers outstanding."

The company has seen its operations expand in recent months, adding Australia to the list of countries that can now use its online payments system. It is also live in Ireland, Britain, the US and Canada, with an 'open beta' version operating in seven additional countries.

Stripe employs around 90 people, mainly in San Francisco. Stripe CEO Patrick Collison is a former winner of the BT Young Scientist competition and both brothers are past pupils of Castletroy College in Limerick.

Stripe is the second Silicon Valley-funded company founded by the brothers. In 2007 they created an online auction management software service, Auctomatic, which was later sold for $5m to a Canadian company.

Twitter has recently faced controversy over a decision to show tweets from sources not followed by users. The move is being seen as an attempt by the company to expand the reach of some users, possibly in advance of further commercial services. The company has declined to say exactly how its algorithms work, but experts say that it is based on the number of tweets favorited by others the user follows on Twitter.

Despite a valuation of €22bn, Twitter is yet to make a profit. The company's share price remains 28pc below its high of December 2013.

Irish Independent

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