7What happened and why This week, Stripe became the latest jewel in Silicon Valley’s crown, after topping a lofty $95bn valuation. Whilst Stripe might be familiar to startup tech lovers, it is unlike some of Silicon Valley’s best performing businesses which are typically consumer and internet focused behemoths like Uber or Facebook. Stripping back Stripe... For those less familiar, Stripe’s mission is to “increase the GDP of the internet”. The company is a payments intermediary with their software helping businesses to accept payments without having to set up siloed connections with numerous banks or other providers - and by dropping in a single line of code. In comparison to other Silicon Valley darlings, Stripe is winning over investors thanks to some key qualities...Efficiency - staff numbers, tallying around the 2,500 mark, is much smaller than the Silicon behemoths (FB, Twitter) that we have gotten used to seeing. That’s thanks to the ease and speed of implementationwhich requires minimal technical support. … Resulting in cost-effectiveness despite its rapid expansion:Activating in over 40 countries.On $2.4bn raised up to date. For their investors, including giants like Sequoia Capital, Fidelity and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency, the bet on the payments industry having a long way to run, still stands tall. Especially, when it is underpinned by a business model that is as sweet as candy:Payment processing (a revenue model based on transaction fees) - labelled as “self-sustaining” by Dhivya Suryadevara, Stripe’s finance chief, who pointed out the lack of need for further investment in this area to maintain growth.“Building for platform”- a second layer of their business, involving the introduction of supplementary services for their clients which can create new revenue streams. 2021 is the year of high growth for Stripe’s leadership, who are aiming to build a sustainable plan for the next 10 years. The emphasis will be on geographic expansion, new products launch and offering bespoke services to companies of all sizes, from your favourite small business to large corporate clients, like Instagram and Atlassian. The Takeaway Stripe is singularised by its outlook and high potential for growth despite its size. The startup’s future success is envisioned by both investors and leadership alike based on the broader spectrum in which it operates - digital commerce and digitalisation - two trending spheres attracting big chunks of money. However, others have expressed their reluctance to the ease with which Stripe will be able to expand in Europe, suggesting that their path to adoption will be much harder than in the US.