Private fintech start-up Stripe is expanding to the Middle East with a new office located in Dubai.
The online payments company announced its Middle East expansion weeks after its latest funding round pushed the company’s value to $95 billion U.S., making it one of the most valuable private companies in the world.
Stripe, started in 2010 by two brothers from Ireland, competes directly with PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), Adyen and Square (NYSE:SQ). Its software platform allows businesses to accept online payments. Stripe co-founders Patrick and John Collison are each worth $11 billion U.S.
Stripe says it chose to open an office in Dubai because the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a booming digital economy. Businesses operating online in the UAE can now use Stripe to accept online payments.
Lockdown measures around the world helped accelerate e-commerce, and the UAE is no exception. According to the International Trade Administration, the UAE’s e-commerce market is forecast to be valued at $27.1 billion by next year (2022).
Speculation is growing that Stripe plans to hold an initial public offering (IPO) in the hear future. Stripe is the most valuable private company ever to come out of Silicon Valley after its valuation nearly tripled in less than a year. It is worth more than both Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) were before they held their IPOs.
Former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney sits on Stripe’s board of directors. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) founder Elon Musk and billionaire investor Peter Thiel were each early investors in Stripe.