Unveiling the Biography of John Collison

An image of John Collison speaking.

A Quick Biography of John Collison
Key Points and Facts
Life Lessons
Questions and Answers
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The Life Story of John Collison

John Collison is not just a remarkable entrepreneur but also a multifaceted individual with varied interests.

Born in the lush Irish countryside near Limerick, John’s story is a testament to how one’s upbringing, interests, and values shape the person one becomes.


John’s early years were spent surrounded by the scenic beauty of Limerick, Ireland.

His parents, Denis, an electronic engineer, and Lily, a microbiologist and author, fostered a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment.

This backdrop played a crucial role in shaping John’s curiosity and creativity.


A testament to his academic prowess, John achieved stellar results in the Irish Leaving Certificate examination.

His quest for knowledge led him to Harvard University, where, alongside his studies, he embarked on entrepreneurial ventures with his brother Patrick.

“We hired extremely slowly at the beginning. It took us a year to get to four people. It’s hard to hire as a very small company, and we wanted to make sure we found people who cared a lot about what Stripe was doing.” ~ John Collison

Interests and Hobbies:

John’s life outside of work is as vibrant and diverse as his professional endeavors.

A passionate aviator, he’s not just content with flying but is also learning to fly at Weston Airport.

His fascination with the skies extends to his investments, including efforts to buy Weston Airport near Dublin.

Music also plays a harmonious part in his life, with John being an adept pianist. This combination of music and aviation illustrates a man who enjoys both the serene melodies of a piano and the adrenaline of soaring through the skies.

“You’re used to seeing values listed on waiting-room walls. Communication, integrity, excellence, and respect. Those were actually Enron’s values.” ~ John Collison

Family Life:

Despite his global business engagements, John maintains a strong connection to his Irish roots.

He recently purchased a vast estate near Dublin, indicating his attachment to his homeland.

This move also reflects his desire for a balanced life, combining the fast-paced world of technology with the tranquility of the Irish countryside.

Journey to Innovation: John Collison

The Birth of Stripe

John Collison, together with his brother Patrick, embarked on a remarkable journey that reshaped the online payment landscape.

Their brainchild, Stripe, emerged from an idea conceived while the brothers were pursuing their studies. In 2010, they pitched their revolutionary online payments system to Peter Thiel, a renowned Silicon Valley investor.

This pivotal moment set the stage for Stripe’s ascent in the tech world.

Interestingly, the very first payment processed by Stripe happened during John and Patrick’s vacation in South America.

“Fundraising is a long and distracting process, and by the end of it, all you want to do is go back to building the product that you’re working on.” ~ John Collison

Auctomatic: The Prelude to Stripe

Before Stripe became a household name, John and Patrick ventured into e-commerce with Auctomatic.

This software-as-a-service platform catered to eBay sellers, showcasing the brothers’ knack for recognizing market needs.

Their dedication bore fruit in 2008 when Auctomatic was acquired by Live Current Media for an impressive $5 million.

Scaling New Heights with Stripe

Stripe’s trajectory has been nothing short of meteoric. In September 2019, the company secured a whopping $250 million in funding, skyrocketing its valuation to $35 billion.

Under John’s leadership as president, Stripe has become a pivotal player in online transactions, simplifying payment processes for businesses worldwide.

The company’s influence is evident, powering payment systems for giants like Target, Lyft, and Kickstarter.

“I think a lot of people learn to code messing around with things while in secondary school. And for me, it started up as a hobby and a plaything, and I just became more curious over time.” ~ John Collison

A Billionaire’s Vision

John’s journey is marked by exceptional milestones. He became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, with his net worth estimated at an astounding $11.4 billion in 2022.

This accomplishment places him among the ranks of the wealthiest individuals globally.

Revolutionizing Online Transactions

Stripe’s impact extends beyond financial transactions. The company is at the forefront of revolutionizing how businesses operate online, from payroll management to fraud detection.

John, alongside his brother, envisions providing small startups with the same robust infrastructure available to large corporations. This vision has positioned Stripe as a critical enabler in the burgeoning world of e-commerce.

“With PayPal, you have to send people over to their website… whereas with Stripe, we offer a way to integrate payments into the website, on the website or into a mobile app. That is what all the best businesses care about, so we make it very easy, very fast, very simple and very cheap to do this.” ~ John Collison


John Collison’s professional journey is a testament to innovation, determination, and vision.

From the early days of Auctomatic to the towering success of Stripe, John has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in the tech industry.

His story is not just about creating wealth; it’s about transforming how the world engages in online transactions, making it simpler and more accessible for businesses of all sizes.

John Collison is a beacon of entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring a generation to dream big and innovate relentlessly.

“My brother and I were born in an Irish county called Tipperary. We were both very math- and science-inclined in high school. My dad trained as an electrical engineer, and my mom is in microbiology.” ~ John Collison


Key Points and Facts

  • Co-founder and president of Stripe, a suite of payment APIs for online businesses.
  • Born and raised in the countryside near Limerick, Ireland.
  • Parents are Denis Collison (electronic engineer) and Lily Collison (microbiologist and author).
  • Conceived the idea for Stripe with brother Patrick while studying at Harvard and MIT.
  • In 2010, pitched online payments system to Peter Thiel, an early Facebook backer.
  • Stripe’s first payment processed while on vacation in South America.
  • In September 2019, Stripe raised a $250 million funding round, valuing the company at $35 billion.
  • Resides in San Francisco, California.
  • Launched Auctomatic before Stripe, a software-as-a-service platform for eBay sellers, and an iPhone app for Wikipedia.
  • Sold Auctomatic for $5 million to Live Current Media in March 2008.
  • Part of a consortium aiming to buy Weston Airport near Dublin, Ireland in 2021.
  • Purchased a €20 million, 1,100-acre estate near the airport.
  • Learning to fly at Weston Airport.
  • Irish billionaire entrepreneur, youngest self-made billionaire as of 2016.
  • Net worth estimated at US$11.4 billion as of 2022.
  • Founded “Shuppa” in 2007, later merged with Auctomatic.
  • Received 8 A1 and 2 A2 grades in Irish Leaving Certificate examination.
  • Pilot and pianist.
  • Stripe received backing from Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Sequoia Capital.
  • Ranked 15th in Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 in 2016.
  • Contributed $1 million to California YIMBY in 2018.
  • Bought the Abbeyleix Estate and Millbrook House in County Laois, Ireland in 2021 and 2022.
  • Criticized a controversial Forbes article depicting Limerick negatively.
  • Stripe powers payment systems of companies like Target, Lyft, and Kickstarter.
  • Founded and sold Auctomatic before turning 20.
  • Came up with the idea for Auctomatic at a local pub in Boston.
  • Stripe handles tens of billions of dollars in internet payments annually.
  • Targeted larger customers like Allianz, Booking.com, and Zillow in 2018.
  • Acquired a point-of-sale software developer in 2018 to expand to physical stores.
  • Stripe valued at just under $10 billion, simplifying credit card payments on apps and websites.
  • Charges 1.4% of the transaction value plus 20p in the UK.
  • Dropped out of college to focus on Stripe.
  • Known for micromanaging details at Stripe, spending hours on job interviews.
  • Stripe handles a significant portion of Amazon’s transactions.
  • Aims to revolutionize online business activities, including payroll and fraud detection software.


John Collison

August 6, 1990: John Collison was born in Limerick, Ireland.

Pre-2007: Achieved the highest-ever score for the Irish Leaving Certificate.

2007: Founded “Shuppa” with his brother in Limerick, Ireland.

March 2008: Sold Auctomatic, a software company for eBay, for $5 million.

2010: John and Patrick Collison pitched their online payments system to Peter Thiel, co-founding Stripe.

2011: Stripe debuted with its base in Palo Alto, California.

2016: Became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire after an investment valued Stripe at $9.2 billion. Ranked 15th in Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40.

2018: Stripe contributed $1 million to California YIMBY, a pro-housing development lobbying organization. Began targeting larger customers like Allianz, Booking.com, and Zillow.

September 2019: Stripe raised a $250 million funding round, valuing the company at $35 billion.

2021 and 2022: Bought the Abbeyleix Estate and the derelict Millbrook House in County Laois, Ireland. Was part of a consortium aiming to buy Weston Airport near Dublin, Ireland.


Teachable Lessons from John Collison’s Life

Embrace Early Ambitions

  • John Collison, along with his brother, founded and sold their first company, Auctomatic, before turning 20. This demonstrates the importance of embracing ambition and entrepreneurial spirit from a young age.

Value Education and Continuous Learning

  • Despite their early success, both John and his brother Patrick valued education highly. John received high grades in the Irish Leaving Certificate and attended Harvard University. Their educational pursuits complemented their entrepreneurial journey.

Innovation and Problem-Solving

  • John and his brother conceived the idea for Stripe to tackle the challenges of setting up payments for internet businesses. This shows the significance of identifying problems and innovating solutions in the entrepreneurial world.

Collaborate and Co-Create

  • John’s partnership with his brother Patrick in founding Stripe and Auctomatic highlights the power of collaboration. Working with others can combine different skills and perspectives, leading to successful ventures.

Persistence and Resilience

  • Stripe wasn’t an overnight success. John and Patrick faced challenges but persisted, demonstrating the importance of resilience in entrepreneurship.

Diversify Interests and Skills

  • John is not just a successful entrepreneur but also an avid pilot and pianist. Diversifying interests and skills can provide a well-rounded life and can also open up new opportunities.

Recognize the Role of Luck

  • John acknowledges that luck played a role in Stripe’s success. Recognizing the role of luck can keep one grounded and grateful.

Aim for Impact

  • With Stripe, John aimed to revolutionize how businesses conduct online activities. Entrepreneurs should aim to create ventures that have a significant impact.

Critique and Stand Up for Truth

  • John criticized a Forbes article for its inaccuracies about Limerick, his hometown. This shows the importance of standing up for the truth and challenging false narratives.

Give Back and Support Causes

  • In 2018, Stripe contributed to California YIMBY, showing the importance of giving back and supporting causes that align with one’s values.

John Collison’s life provides valuable lessons in entrepreneurship, collaboration, resilience, and the importance of balancing professional success with personal passions and social responsibility.


Frequently Asked Questions about John Collison

Early Life and Background

Q: Where was John Collison born?

A: John Collison was born in Dromineer, County Tipperary, Ireland.

Q: When was John Collison born?

A: John Collison was born on August 6, 1990.

Q: Who are John Collison’s parents?

A: John Collison’s parents are Denis Collison, an electronic engineer, and Lily Collison, a microbiologist and author.

Q: Where did John Collison grow up?

A: He grew up in the countryside near Limerick, Ireland.


Q: Where did John Collison receive his education?

A: He attended Castletroy College and later went to Harvard University.

Q: What notable academic achievement did John Collison have in his Leaving Certificate examination?

A: He received 8 A1 and 2 A2 grades in the Irish Leaving Certificate examination.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

Q: What was John Collison’s first entrepreneurial venture?

A: His first venture was “Shuppa,” founded with his brother in Limerick, Ireland, in 2007, which later merged with Auctomatic.

Q: What is Auctomatic, and what happened to it?

A: Auctomatic was a software-as-a-service platform for eBay sellers, which was acquired for $5 million in March 2008 by Live Current Media.

Q: How did John Collison come up with the idea for Stripe?

A: John and his brother Patrick conceived the idea for Stripe while they were studying at Harvard and MIT, respectively.

Q: When was Stripe co-founded, and who are its founders?

A: Stripe was co-founded in 2010 by John and Patrick Collison.

Stripe and Achievements

Q: What is Stripe?

A: Stripe is a suite of payment APIs for online businesses.

Q: What notable achievement does John Collison have related to his age and wealth?

A: As of 2016, John was the youngest self-made billionaire.

Q: What is John Collison’s net worth as of 2022?

A: As of 2022, his net worth was estimated at US$11.4 billion.

Q: Who are some notable backers of Stripe?

A: Stripe received backing from Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Sequoia Capital.

Personal Interests

Q: What are some of John Collison’s personal interests or hobbies?

A: John Collison is a pilot and a pianist.

Real Estate and Investments

Q: What significant real estate investments has John Collison made?

A: In 2021 and 2022, he bought the Abbeyleix Estate and the derelict Millbrook House in County Laois, Ireland.

Q: Was John Collison part of a consortium aiming to buy an airport?

A: Yes, in 2021, he was part of a consortium aiming to buy Weston Airport near Dublin, Ireland.

Additional Ventures

Q: What other ventures has John Collison been involved in?

A: He was involved in developing iPhone apps, including an $8 version of Wikipedia.


Q: Was there any controversy related to a Forbes article about Limerick, John Collison’s hometown?

A: Yes, a Forbes article in 2021 falsely depicted Limerick as a “warzone” and “murder capital” of Europe, which was criticized by the Collison brothers for its inaccuracies.

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Featured Video


John Collison – Wiki | Golden

John Collison – Wikipedia

Stripe Cofounder John Collison on Being the Youngest Self-Made Billionaire

Patrick and John Collison: Introducing the Irish billionaires under 30 | Gentleman’s Journal

Web Summit, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons