Global digital payments company Stripe enters Middle East after funding round values company at $95bn

The FinTech has partnered with Dubai-based payment processing firm Network International to roll out its services in the region

Digital payments company Stripe is entering the Middle East market with the opening of an office in Dubai after raising $600 million last month that valued the company at $95bn.

The company, which has its main bases in San Francisco and Dublin, has partnered with Dubai-based Network International, one of the top payment processing companies in the Middle East and North Africa, to roll out its services in the region.

Businesses operating online in the region can use Stripe’s platform to accept payments, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. It will also connect its existing global clients to the region.

"The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite [and] internet-savvy consumers … however, businesses still face challenges when trying to accept payments, make payouts and manage the money side of internet businesses," Matt Henderson, Europe, Middle East and Africa business lead at Stripe, said.

“Stripe removes these complexities so businesses can focus on what makes them special,” he added.

Stripe has been working with a number of clients in the Middle East on a trial basis to test the feasibility of its technology ahead of its launch, with businesses such as Aceplace, ChatFood, and WeKeep already using the platform to process online payments, the company said.

Founded in 2010 by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, Stripe raised $600m from investors including Baillie Gifford, insurers Axa and Allianz, asset manager Fidelity and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

Digital payments are thriving as users increasingly moved away from using cash during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Globally, digital payments are set to grow to $8.3 trillion in 2024, from $4.4tn last year, according to Statista. In the UAE, they have more than doubled over the last two years to $18.5bn in 2020, according to Stripe.

Two-thirds of UAE residents expect the country to become fully cashless by 2030, a poll by Standard Chartered showed in September.

Stripe has more than 50 customers who use the platform to process more than $1bn worth of payments each year, the company said following its recent fund-raising.

“As an international technology business operating out of the UAE, the ability to leverage Stripe’s global payments infrastructure means we can really accelerate our growth,” Faisal Memon, founder and chief executive of Illusions Online, a company that offers enterprise software for travel companies, said.

More than 10,000 companies registered an interest in Stripe's UAE launch, the company said. It will schedule invitations during its first few weeks of availability in the UAE to manage demand, it added.

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