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Fintech startup Stripe enters the Middle East through UAE operations



One of Silicon Valley’s most valuable private financial technology companies has chosen Dubai for its first expansion into the Middle East and North Africa.

Online payment company Stripe expanded its business to the Middle East just a few weeks after the latest round of financing, raising the company’s market value to $95 billion, making it one of the world’s most valuable private financial technology companies.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC̵

7;s Hadley Gamble, Matt Henderson, Stripe’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa business, said in an exclusive interview on Monday: “The entrepreneurial opportunities in the UAE are huge.” “The opportunities for Stripe are also huge.”

Stripe was founded in 2010 by two Irish brothers and directly competes with PayPal, Adyen and Square. Its software platform allows companies to accept online payments.

Co-founders Patrick (Patrick) and John Collison (John Collison) are 32 years old and 30 years old, each with their own family of more than 11 billion U.S. dollars.

Why choose Dubai?

Henderson told CNBC: “The UAE clearly has a thriving digital economy.” Now, companies operating online in the UAE can use Stripe to accept online payments.

Gym management software Glofox (already a global user of Stripe) said in a statement that the launch of Stripe in the UAE “can be a catalyst for global brands like us to expand our ability to provide products and services to fitness companies in the region.”

Henderson added that the benefit of bringing Stripe’s technology to Dubai is that “many great local companies are not yet globalized. One way to help them grow and therefore resonate with investors is to open up these new markets.”

Commuters travel along Sheikh Zayed Road, passing commercial and residential properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Christopher Parker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Global lock-in measures have helped accelerate e-commerce, and the UAE is no exception. According to the forecast of the International Trade Administration, the UAE’s e-commerce market will be worth US$27.1 billion by 2022.

Henderson told CNBC: “Last year alone, we have seen more than $600 million in investments in start-ups in the UAE.” “The trajectory of these components is much larger.”

He added: “You also have the perfect combination of talent, investment and entrepreneurship.” “So we see that there will be many exciting emerging technology businesses in the UAE.”

The Careem ride app is displayed on the iPhone in Dubai Mall.

Christopher Parker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The UAE has a number of regional success stories.

The ride-hailing app Careem, headquartered in Dubai, was acquired by Uber for US$3.1 billion in 2019. Anghami, the first legal music streaming platform in the Middle East and North Africa, announced last month that they will be the first listed Arab technology company on the Nasdaq in New York.

The road to IPO?

According to reports, Stripe is the most valuable private company in Silicon Valley’s history, and its valuation has almost tripled in less than a year. It is more valuable than Uber and Facebook before they went public.

Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England, and Christa Davies, chief financial officer of insurance company Aon, serve on Stripe’s board of directors.

Tesla founder Elon Musk and billionaire investor Peter Thiel were early investors in Stripe.

Although there are rumors that Stripe is preparing to be listed on the public market, Henderson told CNBC: “In fact, we are actually only focusing on the growth model, the investment model, and truly serve our users.”

Henderson said the company’s goal is to maintain a “thrifty culture. We try to conserve our resources and do things in as automated a way as possible.”

Henderson said that although it is not yet known how many employees Stripe will add to the UAE, it plans to stick to its capital efficiency model. He added: “I think it will be very helpful to us.”


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