How Limerick's Collison brothers just made the Forbes' billionaires list

A ten-year timeline of their technological trajectory

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

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anne.sheridan@limerickleader.ie

How Limerick's Collison brothers just made the Forbes' billionaires list

Brothers Patrick, 28, and John Collison, 26

LIMERICK’S most famous brothers have made the Forbes billionaires list for the first time.

The Collison brothers from Castletroy and now based in California have seen their wealth reach into a whole new stratosphere, with younger brother John, 26, becoming the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

The Irish duo, which rank in joint 1,795th place, each have an estimated fortune of $1.1 billion as their online payments firm Stripe had a $9.2 billion valuation last year.

There are now eight Irish billionaires on the prestigious Forbes list.

 

Who are they? The two eldest, technological whizz-kids sons of Lily and Dennis Collison. Patrick was born in 1988, and brother John was born in 1990. The youngest brother Tommy is a journalism student in New York

Why are they in the news again? They've just been made the Forbes billionaires list for the first time, while John has the added prestige of being the world’s youngest self-made billionaire

How did they get so rich? Here's how...

1997-2003 - John Collison attended the Centre for Talented Youth at DCU, where he studied laboratory medicine, maths and journalism from the age of seven

1998 - Brother Patrick begins learning computer programming, taking his first course at the University of Limerick at the age of 10

2004 - Patrick is a runner-up in the 40th Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition for his project on artificial intelligence, nicknamed 'Isaac' after Isaac Newton

2005 - Patrick won the 41st Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2005 at the age of 16, for his project based on programming language

2007 - The brothers founded Shuppa, which later became Auctomatic, a software company that built tools for the eBay platform

2008 - Auctomatic was acquired for $5 million by the Canadian company Live Current Media, making them overnight millionaires at the age of 17 and 19

2009 - John finished secondary school at Castletroy College, receiving 8 A1s and 2 A2s grades in his Leaving Certificate

2009 - John commenced his studies at Harvard University. He was accepted to five US universities, including Stanford and MIT. He was one of only three Irish students to be accepted to Harvard that year. Patrick attended MIT and both dropped out of college when they got the technological itch

2010 - Stripe, their online payments firm was founded. It now supports credit card payments in more than 130 different currencies. Valued at $9 billion (€8.48bn), it employs more than 600 people globally, and operates in 25 countries

2012 - The brothers had a combined wealth of €8 million, according to The Sunday Times' Rich List

2014 – The brothers say they have no plans to sell their billion-dollar business, a mantra they continue to repeat. “We’ve no interest in selling the company. John and I are very lucky to work with the people we do on building something for the long term, and we wouldn’t like to change that,” said Patrick.

2016 - They became the world's youngest self-made billionaires, worth at least $1.1 billion, after an investment in Stripe from CapitalG and General Catalyst Partners valued the company at $9.2 billion

2017 - The duo helped to drive a $220,000 fundraising campaign to fight US President Donald Trump's anti-immigration policies. Stripe described Trump's actions as "morally wrong, economically damaging, and harmful to America's global stature. Immigrants are a vital part of the American economy, way of life, and place in the world.”

2017 - The Sunday Times' Rich List estimated their combined wealth to be in the region of €2.4 billion, the fourth richest in Ireland, and even ahead of JP McManus, who has an estimated wealth of €1.079 billion

2017 - The brothers entered the Forbes billionaires list for the first time, while John has the added prestige of also being the world’s youngest self-made billionaire

What they say: "We are both single. Our dating lives are about as interesting as our downtime. There's not a whole lot happening. We're pretty frickin' boring," said Patrick.

What others say: “Learning is food to John. He was never a swot, he just doesn’t see any boundaries between school and life – it’s all learning and it’s all good," said a relative.