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Quick Thoughts On NTMA's Stripe Investment

Over the weekend Stripe reached an incredible milestone. They're on the cusp of a $100 Billion valuation. Stripe is still a private company, the most valuable private company in the United States.

An incredible moment for everyone at Stripe, not least its two co-founders, Patrick and John Collison. They grew up in Limerick, Ireland so this feels like an proud moment for "Team Ireland."

From U2, to Enya, to Jordan Grand Prix, we've always been proud of Irish global exports. Yet, there's always been a small cloud over some of our technology exports. Notably that we've accidentally exported more founders than we probably should have. Until now.

Ireland missed its opportunity to invest in Stripe - and the success of Stripe - from an early stage. Granted, because of a financial crash, Ireland in 2010 wasn't exactly awash with much money to invest in anything. But still, when they needed funding, Enterprise Ireland turned Stripe down.

In Patrick Collison's own words, almost a decade ago: "From my limited experience, organisations in Ireland are much more risk-averse and very credentials-oriented." That was then, this is now.

Stripe's latest round of funding included a $50 Million commitment from the NTMA (Ireland's National Treasury Management Agency). Ireland is investing in the success of Stripe as much as Stripe is investing in the success of Ireland.

In 2009 NTMA established NAMA - the National Asset Management Agency - which helped clean up much of our over-leveraged financial mess. NAMA was feared, questioned, and controversial at the time. This investment in Stripe is far less controversial. It creates 1,000 new jobs in Ireland.

We've evolved from bailing out the bankers, to investing in the future of banking. A turning point.