John and Patrick Collison became two of the world’s richest millennials over the past decade as Stripe Inc.’s valuation surged more than 5,000% — an ascent emblematic of the easy-money era.
It hasn’t been so easy of late.
The wealth of Patrick, 34, and John, 32, has nearly halved since a 2021 funding round valued the payments firm they founded at $95 billion, making it the biggest US startup at the time. The company revealed on Wednesday a much lower, $50 billion external valuation after raising money from investors including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.
The brothers are now worth about $5.9 billion each, down from a combined $23 billion two years ago, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
A Stripe representative didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The rapid decline in the Irish siblings’ wealth underscores how rising interest rates and surging inflation are roiling the fortunes of tech billionaires. Silicon Valley Bank, which specialized in lending to startups and venture capital firms, collapsed last week in the biggest US bank failure since the financial crisis.
Stripe, headquartered in San Francisco and Dublin, has repeatedly cut its internal valuation in recent months and slashed more than 1,000 jobs to prepare for what the brothers called “leaner times” in an email to employees in late 2022.
The firm is using the $6.5 billion it raised in its latest funding round to pay off taxes of long-standing staff. Stripe has told potential investors it’ll turn a profit this year.
The Collison brothers sold their first company for $5 million when they were teenagers and founded Stripe in 2010 after dropping out of college in the US. Before this week, they were worth $7.5 billion each, based on Stripe’s internal valuations for its stock, according to the Bloomberg wealth index.
The company, which sells software allowing businesses to accept online payments, held a seed round in 2011 from investors including Elon Musk and revealed a valuation of $1.8 billion with its series C fundraise three years later. The value then surged to $20 billion by a 2018 series E round led by Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management, which marked down the investments in its venture funds by about 33% last year.
Even with their recent wealth slump, the Collisons are still the only self-made billionaires under 35 among the world’s 500 biggest fortunes. UK aristocrat Hugh Grosvenor, 32, and Red Bull heir Mark Mateschitz, 30, inherited their riches.