Entrepreneurs building marketplaces and other sharing economy businesses out of the UK, Ireland and Nordic markets will now have access to Stripe’s Connect tool, which is designed to make it easier for startups to scale internationally, sign up new sellers and handle increasingly complex payments between all the parties.
Announced at an event in the San Francisco-headquartered company’s swish new Old Street offices, Stripe says the tool makes it possible for startups looking to build the next Uber or Airbnb out of Stockholm, London or Dublin to access 1bn potential buyers and sellers around the globe via the 25 markets where the company now operates.
That is likely to resonate with UK startups in particular, given the Brexit result means the UK will most likely have to leave the European single market.
“Marketplaces are one of the shining lights of the UK internet economy. While we’ve seen stellar international growth from companies like Deliveroo, Lyst and Hassle, there is huge opportunity to turn a handful of high-growth marketplaces into a significant mass of British businesses successfully scaling across the world,” says head of UK Growth at Stripe James Allgrove in a statement.
“With Connect, British entrepreneurs living in a market of 60 million people seamlessly gain access to a billion-strong market of buyers and sellers, spanning twenty-five developed economies, from Western Europe and the US, to Australia and Japan.”
Allgrove said at the event that while this month’s referendum result on leaving the EU had created a lot of uncertainty, it has not changed Stripe’s commitment to the UK.
Speaking at the launch, Connect engineer Brian Krausz said the lifecyle of payments in marketplaces usually goes something like: manual to bank transfer to ID verification and KYC to tax verification. Repeat that across 20 markets and there’s a lot of linear complexity, he says.
Launched in the US last year, the San Francisco-headquartered firm has been running a beta pilot of the tool with companies like Taskrabbit and Lyst in the UK and Tictail in Sweden.
Speaking at the launch, Debbie Wosskow, the CEO of LoveHomeSwap and chairman of Sharing Economy UK talked about the role companies like Stripe (as well as factors including the recession) played in enabling new marketplace models and driving the sharing economy boom.
Companies dealing with hundreds, thousands, even millions of sellers, drivers, merchants, delivery workers on one side and end-customers on the other have complicated transaction, verification and compliance needs. That only gets more complicated with each market they move into. That’s where Stripe Connect comes in, designed to help young businesses in this space go international with less hassle.
Back in February, Stripe launched a new suite of startup tools called Atlas to make accepting payments online easier for small businesses. Designed to remove a lot of the complex red tape that can overwhelm startups in their early stages, other tools available through Atlas let entrepreneurs easily incorporate a company in the US and set up a US bank account, as well as start taking payments in 100 currencies on launch. Another service it started offering is free guidance on law on taxes in the US from PwC and Orrick to help young teams avoid costly mistakes and oversights that could kill their business.
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