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Fintech startup Stripe enters the Middle East with UAE launch

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

Online payments company Stripe is expanding into the Middle East just weeks after its latest round of financing, which pushed the company’s value to $ 95 billion, making it one of the most valuable private fintech companies in the world.

“The potential for startups in the UAE is huge,” Matt Henderson, Stripe̵

7;s business manager for Europe, Middle East, Africa, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Monday in an exclusive interview. “The opportunity for Stripe is also very great.”

Stripe, started in 2010 by two brothers from Ireland, competes directly with PayPal, Adyen and Square. Its software platform enables businesses to accept online payments.

Co-founders Patrick and John Collison, who are 32 and 30 years old respectively, are each worth over $ 11 billion.

Why Dubai?

“The United Arab Emirates clearly has a thriving digital economy,” Henderson told CNBC. Businesses operating online in the UAE can now use Stripe to accept online payments.

Gym management software Glofox, already a global user of Stripe, said in a statement that Stripe’s launch in the UAE “could be a catalyst for global brands like ours to expand the products and services we are able to offer fitness companies in the region. “

The benefit of bringing Stripe technology to Dubai, Henderson adds, is that “there are many good local businesses that are not yet globalized. One of the ways that will help them grow and therefore help them resonate with investors is to open up these new markets. “

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

Christopher Pike | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Lockdown measures across the globe helped accelerate e-commerce, and the UAE is no exception. According to the International Trade Administration, the UAE’s e-commerce market is expected to be valued at 27.1 billion. $ I 2022.

“We’ve already seen more than $ 600 million in UAE start – up investments last year,” Henderson told CNBC. “The ingredients are there for a much, much bigger track.”

“You also have this combination of talent, investment and entrepreneurship,” he added. “So we see that there are going to be a lot of exciting new technology companies in the UAE.”

The Careem ride hail app appears on an iPhone in a shopping mall in Dubai.

Christopher Pike | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The UAE is home to several regional success stories.

Ride-greeting app Careem, headquartered in Dubai, was acquired by Uber for $ 3.1 billion in 2019. And Anghami, the first legal music streaming platform in the Middle East and North Africa, announced last month that they will be the first Arab tech company. company showing on New York’s Nasdaq.

Road to IPO?

Stripe is reportedly the most valuable private company ever to come out of Silicon Valley after its valuation nearly tripled in less than a year. It’s worth more than both Uber and Facebook were before they were announced.

Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney sits on Stripe’s board of directors along with Christa Davies, chief financial officer of insurance company Aon.

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

Despite rumors that Stripe is preparing for a public listing, Henderson told CNBC: “We’re actually just really focused on growth mode, investment mode and really serving our users.”

Henderson said the company aims to maintain “a culture of frugality, and we strive to conserve our own resources and do things as automatically as possible.”

Although it is not yet known how many employees Stripe will add in the UAE, it plans to stick to its capital-efficient model, Henderson said, adding, “I think it has served us well.”

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