One of Stripe’s key competitive advantages is doing more with less. It has about 3,000 staff, 1/3 less than Facebook had in 2012 when it IPO'd at a similar valuation. The company has remained capital-efficient, even as it expanded to more than 40 countries raising $2.4bn to date, compared with Uber’s $14bn before its IPO in 2019.
In a sign of strong investor appetite, Stripe has held talks about a deal that would allow investors to purchase between $500m and $1bn worth of shares from existing shareholders at or near the same price as the recent financing, said people familiar with the discussions. Stripe’s mission statement to “increase the GDP of the internet” is no less grandiose than Facebook’s scheme to connect everyone on the planet. But unlike social media apps or gig economy start-ups, Stripe operates in an intensely regulated industry where Silicon Valley’s “move fast and break things” approach cannot apply. There are two aspects to Stripe’s business model that got investors excited. One is the fundamental infrastructure of payments processing, for which Stripe typically takes a fee of roughly 2.9 per cent of each transaction — or 1.9 per cent in Europe, where card fees are typically lower.