Patrick Collison

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Patrick Collison
Patrick Collison.jpg
Collison in 2015
Born (1988-09-09) 9 September 1988 (age 33)
EducationGaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan
Castletroy College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forFast Grants, Stripe
RelativesJohn Collison (brother)
AwardsYoung Scientist and Technology Exhibition (2004)
BT Young Scientist of the Year (2005)

Patrick Collison (born 9 September 1988) is an Irish billionaire entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Stripe, which he started with his younger brother, John, in 2010. He won the 41st Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2005 at the age of sixteen. In 2020, he founded Fast Grants to accelerate COVID-19-related science with Tyler Cowen.

Early life[edit]

Patrick Collison was born to microbiologist Lily and engineer Denis Collison in 1988, and he and his brothers were brought up in the small village of Dromineer in County Tipperary.[2][3] The eldest of three boys, he took his first computer course when he was eight years old, at the University of Limerick, and began learning computer programming at the age of ten.[4]

Collison was educated in Gaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan, Nenagh, before attending Castletroy College in Castletroy, County Limerick.[5]


Young Scientist[edit]

Collison entered the 40th Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition with his project on artificial intelligence (nicknamed 'Isaac' after Isaac Newton, whom Patrick admired), finishing as individual runner-up.[5] He re-entered the following year, and won first place at the age of sixteen on 14 January 2005.[6][7] His project involved the creation of Croma, a LISP-type programming language.[7][8]

His prize of a €3,000 cheque and a trophy of Waterford Crystal was presented to him by President Mary McAleese.[4] His younger brother Tommy participated with his project on blogging in the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2010.[9]


He attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but eventually dropped out in 2009 after starting businesses.[4][3] In 2007, he set up software company 'Shuppa' (a play on the Irish word siopa, meaning 'shop') in Limerick with his brother John Collison.[10] Enterprise Ireland did not allocate funding to the company, prompting a move to California after Silicon Valley's Y Combinator showed interest, where they merged with two Oxford graduates, Harjeet and Kulveer Taggar, and the company became Auctomatic.[10]

On Good Friday of March 2008, Collison, aged nineteen, and his brother, aged seventeen, sold Auctomatic to Canadian company Live Current Media, becoming millionaires.[10][11] In May 2008 he became director of engineering at the company's new Vancouver base.[4][10] Collison attributes the success of his company to his win in the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.[4]


Both Collison and his younger brother John were featured on a young Irish persons rich list aired on an RTÉ television show during the 2008 Christmas period.[12]

On 18 July 2009, at the age of 20 and following the publication of McCarthy Report, Collison outlined his ideas for the future of Ireland on popular talk-show Saturday Night with Miriam.[6]

In 2010, Patrick co-founded Stripe, which in 2011 received investment of $2 million including from PayPal co-founders Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, and venture capital firms Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and SV Angel.[13][3]

In November 2016, the Collison brothers became the world's youngest self-made billionaires, worth at least $1.1 billion, after an investment in Stripe from CapitalG and General Catalyst Partners valued the company at $9.2 billion.[14]

According to Collison, he reads books and is interested in a broad range of subjects on history, technology, engineering, fiction, philosophy, and art. He publishes the list of books he read on his website. In November 2018, Collison published a piece in The Atlantic with Michael Nielsen entitled Science is Getting Less Bang for its Buck, arguing that increased investment in science hasn't produced commensurate output. In 2019, Collison published an opinion piece in the same outlet with Tyler Cowen arguing for a new academic discipline called "Progress Studies", which would study the cultural and institutional conditions which lead to the most progress and higher standards of living.[15]

In 2018, Stripe, under the direction of the Collison brothers, contributed $1 million to California YIMBY, a pro-housing development lobbying organization.[16]

On 29 June 2020 Collison criticized the Chinese governments treatment of Uighurs tweeting: "As a US business (and tech) community, I think we should be significantly clearer about our horror at, and opposition to, the atrocities being committed by the Chinese government against its own people".[17]

Collison lives in San Francisco, California. The brothers were worth at least $3.2 billion each after Stripe raised $150 million from CapitalG, an investment division of Google parent's company Alphabet, and General Catalyst Partners.[18] In September 2019, it was announced that Stripe had raised an additional $250 million at a valuation of $35 billion.[19] Together, the brothers hold a controlling interest in Stripe and will be able to retain control should the company go public.[20]

Forbes article[edit]

A profile of the brothers published in Forbes in 2021 claimed the brothers had "escaped" from Limerick, describing it as a "warzone" because of a gang feud and it was "the 'murder capital' of Europe".[21] It claimed "shootings, pipe bomb attacks, and stabbings" happened there every night.[21] It also claimed that "Some bad neighbourhoods are even walled off by a dirty graffitied 10-foot-high barrier, like the Berlin Wall".[21]

The article received a lot of publicity online, causing a backlash.[21] Patrick tweeted "Not only mistaken about Limerick but the idea of ‘overcoming’ anything is crazy. We are who we are because we grew up where we did".[21] John tweeted it was "daft".[21] Patrick O'Donovan called on the magazine and author to apologise to the people of Limerick "or the insult and hurt caused" by it.[21] He also tweeted "I am calling on them to come to Limerick where I will gladly set the record straight in respect of what our county and city has to offer as opposed to what your work of fiction depicts," and "Please let me know when suits to visit."[21] Niall Collins tweeted that the article was a "disgraceful description of Limerick, home to so many fine and decent people".[21]

The article was removed from the website on 9 April 2021.[21]


  1. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: John Collison". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  2. ^ "The untold story of Stripe, the secretive $20bn startup driving Apple, Amazon and Facebook". Wired. Wired. 5 October 2018. Archived from the original on 28 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Cogley, Michael; Field, Matthew (23 February 2021). "How two brothers from rural Ireland built a $115bn payments giant". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e John Costello (7 January 2009). "Million dollar boy who changed the face of the web". Evening Herald. Archived from the original on 29 September 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Maths project wins Young Scientist". RTÉ. 9 January 2004. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Saturday Night with Miriam". Saturday Night with Miriam. 18 July 2009. Archived from the original on 1 August 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  7. ^ a b Emma O'Kelly (14 January 2005). "Young Scientist of the Year is chosen in Dublin". RTÉ News: Nine O'Clock. Retrieved 24 January 2010.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ O'Brien, Ciara (18 January 2018). "Young Scientists: where creativity and charm collide". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 26 March 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  9. ^ Tommy Collison. "Young Scientist Report on Blogging". Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  10. ^ a b c d "Limerick brothers sell company for millions". RTÉ. 27 March 2008. Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  11. ^ "Teenagers become web millionaires". BBC. 27 March 2008. Archived from the original on 17 October 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  12. ^ "Three to Watch". Inside View from Ireland. 5 January 2009. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  13. ^ "Stealth Payment Startup Stripe Backed By PayPal Founders". Archived from the original on 12 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  14. ^ Mac, Ryan. "Stripe Investment Makes Cofounder The World's Youngest Self-Made Billionaire". Forbes. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  15. ^ Collison, Patrick; Cowen, Tyler (30 July 2019). "We Need a New Science of Progress". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 30 November 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  16. ^ Torres, Blanca (3 May 2018). "Are tech CEOs finally tackling the Bay Area housing crisis? Stripe jumps into the fight". San Francisco Business Times. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020.
  17. ^ Collison, Patrick [@patrickc] (29 June 2020). "As a US business (and tech) community, I think we should be significantly clearer about our horror at, and opposition to, the atrocities being committed by the Chinese government against its own people." (Tweet). Archived from the original on 26 July 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ "How Two 20-Somethings From Ireland Built a $9.2 Billion Company". 1 August 2017. Archived from the original on 29 May 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  19. ^ Metcalf, Tom; Verhage, Julie. "Stripe Brothers Become Richest Self-Made Irish Billionaires". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 20 September 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  20. ^ Rudegeair, Peter (26 September 2018). "Payments Fintech Stripe Valued at $20 Billion in Latest Funding Round". Archived from the original on 3 February 2020. Retrieved 3 February 2020 – via
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McDermott, Stephen (10 April 2021). "Forbes article about Stripe brothers which called Limerick 'stab city' removed after online backlash". Retrieved 10 April 2021.

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