two Limerick brothers whose business interests are valued at over $500m have been listed in the influential US magazine Forbes, under the top “30 under 30” to watch in 2013.
Brothers Patrick and John Collison, aged 24 and 22, from Castletroy, are now based in California and shot to prominence in 2005 after Patrick won the Young Scientist of the Year at the age of 16.
Now based in Silicon Valley, they sold their software company Auctomatic, which provides software for eBay users, to a Canadian company in 2008 for an estimated €3m.
They then set up their current venture Stripe, an online payments company, after they conceived of the idea while sitting in a cafe on holiday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The company is valued at between $500m and $1bn.
The leading US magazine started the list of the most influential people under 30 last year, and claims to highlight “young disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs” who are changing the world.
“In sum they represent the entrepreneurial, creative and intellectual best of their generation. Individually, they are engaging, surprising and incredibly hardworking,” according to the magazine.
Patrick, who studied in Castletroy College and mathemathics in MIT in the States, took his first computer course when he was eight years old at the University of Limerick and began learning to program computers at the age of ten. John, who got 10 As in his Leaving Certificate, studied psychology at Harvard and is also a pilot.
The brothers had been unable to secure funding from Enterprise Ireland for their first company so they relocated it to California in 2007.
Their youngest brother Tommy, 18, who is currently working on a book, tweeted this week to say he was “proud” of his older brothers after the announcement from Forbes. Still at secondary school, he published his first book of short stories, A Certain Freedom, this June online. He is due to publish his second work, about growing up with cerebral palsy, in the coming weeks.
Tommy told the Limerick Leader he’s regarded as “the black sheep” of the family, as his interests lie in English and history rather than technology and science. He also hopes to study in the States next year.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of the social networking site Facebook, is also listed in the guide, along with two other influential Irish people - Jonathan Cloonan, 27, from Dublin, named in the marketing and advertising category, and social entrepreneur James Whelton, 20, from Cork.