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John Collison: 10 Things You Didn't Know

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2014 - Day 2

When you think of self-made billionaires, you often think about older men in their in stuffy business suits attending board meetings. This is not the case with billionaire John Collison. What makes John so different from most other billionaires is that he is only 25 years old and he looks like he is 18 years old. If you want to learn more about John, his business, and how he got so rich at such a young age, continue reading.

John's Partner

John hasn't been in business on his own and he didn't make his fortune by himself. His partner is actually his older brother, Patrick. According to John, working with his brother is great. He says it is like working with your best friend who you trust more than any other person. Since then, he has worked with a variety of investors, but when it comes to creating new projects, he teams up with his big brother.

John's First Millions

John and his older brother started a company in their hometown of Limerick, Ireland in 2007. The company was called Shuppa. It was a software company that built tools for the eBay platform. The brothers' company got a great deal of attention and soon merged with Auctomatic. The merged company was funded by Chris Sacca. In March 2008, they sold the company for $5 million. John was only 17 years old at the time. He still hadn't even finished high school yet.

John Goes Back to School

In 2009 and already a millionaire, John went back to school. He got his degree at Castletroy College and he then moved on to study at the prestigious Harvard University. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in Physics.

Creating Stripe

In early 2010, John and his brother Patrick were working on a variety of projects and they hated the fact that it was so difficult to accept payments online. The decided to work on something that would make accepting payments online not only possible but simple. They figured out a way, and for a while, they showed it to their friends to see how it worked. Along the way, they made a few tweaks whenever they saw that there was a problem. About 2 weeks after building their prototype, they got their first transaction. It was with a Y Combinator company called 280 North. The company's founder, Ross Boucher was their first customer. Soon after, he joined the Collison brothers and became their first employee.

They Had Their Doubts With Stripe

When the boys first created Stripe, they weren't sure how big the market was for such a product. They also weren't sure that they could offer an easy user experience. Soon, more doubt started creeping in. They weren't sure if they could handle issues such as non-US dollar payments and fraud issues. They let this doubt take over, so they partnered with a payments company. In the end, they realized that if there were going to control the entire experience, they had to take control of the whole process. Eventually, they went out on their own. Soon, the boys decided to move to Silicon Valley where all of the business action was.

John in an Investor

Since John started making money with his businesses, he has been investing in a variety of companies. Most of the money that he invested was seed money, and it was always millions of dollars. His smallest investment was with Fieldbook for $725,000. His largest investment was with Intercom for $50 million. Some of his other investments include Castle, Abacus Labs, Slack, Ambition, and Cruise Automation.

John is a Godfather

John is the proud godfather of an 18-month-old daughter named Tara. He tweets photos of her often. The most recent photo was taken on November 28, 2016. He took a photo of her sitting next to her pink play car in his home. The caption on the photos said that at 18 months old, Tara had managed to get the Amazon Echo to recognize her. Who knows, she could turn out to be a genius just like her godfather.

Award Nomination

Being such a big deal in Silicon Valley and considering that he was a millionaire when he was just 17 years old, it is no wonder that he has been nominated for an award that is considered to be very prestigious in the business world. On November 5, 2015, John attended the 8th Annual Crunchies Awards. He was nominated for the Founder of the Year award. He was part of a very exclusive group of nominees including his brother Patrick, Brian Acton, Elizabeth Holmes, and Jan Koum, among others. He ended up losing the award to Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder, and CEO of Slack. John didn't take the loss hard, though. He said that an award is just recognition. Creating a successful business is the true reward.

He Spent Thanksgiving 2016 in Israel

On November 18, 2016, John posted on his Twitter that he was planning a trip to Israel the week of November 26th. After a long flight, he made it with his brother Patrick and another family member at the Western Wall in Old City Jerusalem. The caption was, “Happy Thanksgiving.” The three of them looked like they were having a great time.

John Collison Net Worth

John recently became the youngest self-made billionaire. His net worth is $1.1 billion. His brother has the same net worth, but since John is younger, he is the one who broke the record. With that amount of money at 25 years old, it is surprising that John is so responsible. The people who work for him say that he is a great boss, very responsible, and he likes to have fun.

There aren't too many people who aren't actors or singers, who can say that they made their first million when they were in high school. There is actually only one person who can say that they are a self-made billionaire at the age of 25. That is John Collison. Right now, he is the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. He better watch his back, though. Today, kids with ideas for new companies are getting younger and younger.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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