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Stripe, one of Silicon Valley's hottest startups, just raised a $245 million monster round — making

Stripe, the online payments company with customers including Target, Lyft, and Amazon, just announced a monster $245 million round of funding that values the company at $20 billion.

This means that Stripe has more than doubled its valuation in two years — in late 2016, Stripe raised $150 million at a valuation of $9.2 billion. This new round was led by Tiger Global Management, Sequoia, and DST Global. All told, Stripe has raised $685 million in funding from investors including CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) and Visa. It was, and is, the most valuable financial services startup in the world.

In an interview, Stripe President John Collison says that much of the company's growth is coming from the gradual expansion of internet companies into physical retail — for instance, Warby Parker, the online eyeglasses retailer, which uses Stripe to take credit card payments both from its website and its physical retail stores.

"A number of high-growth technology companies are expanding to the real world," says Collison, who cofounded the company with his brother Patrick, who serves as CEO. "They want to do that on Stripe."

This new money will be going toward building out its international payments network, further developing its payments technology with an eye towards serving larger businesses, and expanding its operations to new countries. To that last point, Stripe also announced the opening of its first "engineering hub" in Singapore to complement its existing offices in San Francisco, Seattle, and Dublin, in the Collison brothers' homeland of Ireland.

Collison says that the international expansion is a natural next step: Companies like Google and Uber have looked abroad for talent and growth opportunities, and so too must Stripe.

Stripe has been on something of a tear recently in terms of new product releases: In the last few months alone, the startup introduced Stripe Issuing, a solution to let customers issue their own debit cards, as well as Stripe Terminal, a program for point-of-sale systems and cash registers that are integrated with Stripe payments.

The big picture, Collison says, is to make it easy for any of those "high-growth internet businesses" to take payments, and, in turn, put that money "back out in the real world."

Collison acknowledges that Stripe had an early reputation for working primarily with startups — but now, he says, any retailer can have a high-growth internet business that could benefit from Stripe's services. Indeed, he says, Stripe is building new products with a specific eye towards making it easier for internet businesses to adopt new technologies and stay on the right side of the continued evolution of online commerce.

"The geeks will inherit the earth. The geekish companies will do so," says Collison.

Going forward, Collison says that there are no specific plans for an exit any time soon. He says that Stripe's first priority is on building the business and pursuing its mission, and any talk of going public or going after more investor cash takes a backseat to those priorities.

"We're entirely focused on the business," says Collison. "No plans for an IPO. No plans for another funding round."

Source: businessinsider.com

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