Two Limerick brothers may be on the verge of a global deal that will transform Twitter and the way people buy things on the internet.
Patrick (25) and John (23) Collison are reportedly in advanced discussions to create an online payment mechanism for Twitter that would allow people to buy products on the social media service.
At present, Twitter relies heavily on advertising and this is not covering its development costs. The brothers' firm Stripe allows web companies to accept credit card payments without the fuss of going through a local bank.
If completed, the deal would confirm the Collisons as emerging A-list global tech entrepreneurs, catapulting Stripe's value to around €1bn .
The firm, which is just three years old and is financially backed by Silicon Valley's most prestigious investors, is thought to have turned down an acquisition offer worth several hundred million dollars from PayPal last year. It employs around 60 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.
The deal, which has not yet been confirmed by Stripe or Twitter, was first reported by Recode -- a new online publication created by former senior 'Wall Street Journal' technology writers.
Stripe is regularly described by US financial analysts as one of a small number of firms to constitute the "next big thing" from Silicon Valley and in 2012 it was valued at €80m. However, off-market trading services and technology analysts currently value the firm at €500m.
Patrick Collison recently told the Irish Independent that there was no intention to cash in on the valuation yet.
"If we were interested in selling the company and making money quickly, we would have a laser focus on the US," he said. "Instead, we're absolutely focused on opening international offices and expanding, which is very hard."
He said that Stripe's goal was to build an easier way of paying for things online "in the long term".
Mr Collison said that Stripe has "several thousand" companies using the service, and processes "millions of dollars" in transactions every day.
Although the majority of companies using Stripe's payment system are small, Mr Collison said Walmart and US-based IT firm Rackspace also use the service.
Stripe recently started its international expansion with trial services in Germany, France, Belgium and Australia. Ireland is the third country, after Britain and Canada, to launch full Stripe services.
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.