John Collison is not entirely at ease when he speaks of his fame: at the age of 27, he is the world’s youngest billionaire, if we consider those who have built their fortunes – and have not inherited them, for example. On the other hand, it appears to have common qualities to entrepreneurs and profitable business leaders: it is a confident and a good communicator. He gets embarrassed when asked about the size of his fortune. “People always ask me about it, and I think they expect an interesting answer. But I do not have the answer for them,” says the Irishman. “People ask, ‘how has your life changed?’ And expect a new eccentric hobby, such as a collection of golden eggs or yacht racing,” he adds – the businessman likes to race in his spare time.
From the countryside to Silicon Valley The brothers grew up in Country Tipperary, a small rural village in the west of Ireland. After finishing high school, the two chose American universities to study: in 2007 Patrick began math at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (the famous MIT) and, two years later, John was accepted at the respected Harvard University. “Obviously it was easier for me because Patrick had already done it.We even considered studying in the UK but wanted a place further away. We were studious, and getting into a top university in the United States was tempting,” says John. But even before he started studying at Harvard, both had already become millionaires thanks to the duo’s first business, a software company that helped businesses and consumers more easily do business on the eBay sales site. In 2008, one year after it was created, Auctomatic was sold for US $ 5 million (R $ 16.3 million in updated figures). After the deal, the brothers turned their attention to Stripe, and continued to work together when John began studying at Harvard. The two eventually dropped out of university to launch the company in Silicon Valley, a region that concentrates technology companies in California. “Creating a product that people really want to buy, and getting them to hear about it, are hard things. Making money on the internet can be extremely difficult,” he said. “You can imagine how hard it is to start a business on the internet. says John. “I remember asking Patrick ‘how hard can it be? Should we keep trying?'” They continued to develop software that would allow businesses of all sizes to receive payments more easily, as well as store customer data, as well as other security systems. Despite having several competitors, Stripe saw its users grow rapidly, securing funding and support from industry heavyweights such as Tesla boss Elon Musk and Paypal founder Peter Thiel.