Patrick Collison, co-founder and chief executive of US payments company Stripe, used his keynote presentation this afternoon to speak about Atlas, a beta product designed to help entrepreneurs based in developing markets “gain access to the same business infrastructure enjoyed by tech companies here in Europe or the US”.
Collison spoke of an uneven playing field, where startups outside the G20 – which depend on the internet to grow their businesses – are often excluded from the international banking system and cannot accept payments in different currencies.
One way to get round this would be for emerging-market startups to incorporate in the US or Europe, but Collison said it could take months – and chew up lots of resources – if they embarked on this process themselves
Stripe Atlas is designed to get round that problem. The product has been developed in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank, which will provide newly-established businesses with US bank accounts.
Stripe is also working with law firm Orrick to provide standardised paperwork, and with PwC to provide startups with free consultancy advice. “We’re also working with AWS [Amazon Web Services], which are going to provide a smoother and easier on-ramp to their services.”
Collison asserted that companies that sign up to Atlas could be accepting payments within a matter of days, with a “fully-fledged US bank account”, as well as a Stripe account “to charge customers from anywhere in the world”.
He added that Atlas was in invite-only mode, to hold back what he thinks will be huge demand and to make sure that customers are properly served.
Expansion, however, is in the pipeline. Aside from US-based accounts, Collison wants to add other places – or “hubs” – that internet-based startups from emerging markets can be incorporated.
Growth is on the cards for Stripe too. Collison ruefully noted that Stripe, while present in 24 countries – after only four years in operation – still has 170 countries where it lacks a presence.