How Stripe got its first users?

Stripe MVP

Stripe's main goal was to make it simpler for developers to accept payments. PayPal and other payment platforms did not place as much emphasis on that. Stripe's user acquisition tactics helped them achieve this goal.

Paul Graham was a friend of Patrick Collison's from Y Combinator. YC helped Collison build his prior business, Auctomatic (a system for managing online auctions). It took Patrick and John (his brother) 6 months to polish their thing and get feedback from their friends before releasing Stripe's prototype. They had it ready within two weeks. Their first client was 280 North. It was another YC company.

Graham believed in Patrick's skills since Auctomatic was also profitable. Collison was able to get greater traction after getting around $30,000. The original name was /Dev/Payments. It was quickly changed to a simpler one, namely Stripe. Stripe's customer acquisition journey was a mix of word of mouth and social media activity.

Stripe growth strategy was mainly word of mouth. As Patrick Collison said, it was surprising because it got spread like a social network, but it was a payment system. They didn't expect it to have any virality potential. It soon became clear all the alternatives were so poor and bothersome that people simply started selling this to others. Apart from that, Paul Graham's social media activity was another factor in Stripe's customer acquisition journey. He had a lot of faith in the initiative and tweeted about it on his Twitter profile. What's more, Stripe was also mentioned on the YC blog, which was also an important element of Stripe's user acquisition tactics.


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