For all of Silicon Valley's talk of "disruption" we are now living in a time of true disruption. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered lives in ways big and small all around the world. It would perhaps be more terrifying if it wasn't so surreal. We will get through this, but our reality on the other side will be forever changed.
Part of that change which is already taking place is an acceleration of business online – both companies moving their entire book of business there and companies already there scaling in ways not imagined. While this has been happening slowly but surely over the past three decades, the COVID situation is forcing the hands of many because the real world options just aren't viable right now.
Thankfully, there are tools and services which have been built in recent years which can help with this transition and related challenges. Perhaps the prime example is Stripe.
When we first invested in Stripe in 2016, the company was seven years into their journey to "grow the GDP of the internet". They had certainly executed on that goal up until that point, but it still seemed like the early days. In the intervening years, that has proven to be the case. But recent weeks have shed a whole new light on that mission. That's why I'm proud that GV has stepped up our investment in a major way to provide more capital and further partnership for this cause at this important time.
Millions of businesses now rely on Stripe to function. But it's the ones that didn't realize they would have to all of a sudden which are top of mind. As are newer types of businesses that are being thrown into the challenges of scaling overnight– such as in the telemedicine space, with companies like Solv, which Stripe now supports.
With the world as it is right now, it's a unique and certainly challenging time to be investing. At the same time, everyone knows that great companies will be built in this crucible.
On the flip side, companies already at massive scale are seeing an influx of demand that could not have been predicted. Companies like Instacart, Peloton, DoorDash, Caviar, Postmates – even Amazon – are all being stretched to their limits. And Stripe is helping each of them try to handle the demand.
At the same time, again, we will exit these trying times. And when trying to think about what the world might look like at that point, it seems pretty clear that Stripe will be a pillar of business and commerce of all shapes and sizes.
Newly public companies like Zoom and Slack, which are providing invaluable connections to millions of people in our current situation, are running their business on Stripe. And private companies like our newest portfolio company Universe, which is attempting to create simple mobile tools for individuals to set up businesses on the web, are also running on Stripe.
And so even in a time when most companies (rightfully) have to think about scaling back on some goals and ambitions, it's imperative that Stripe keeps forging ahead.
With the world as it is right now, it's a unique and certainly challenging time to be investing. At the same time, everyone knows that great companies will be built in this crucible. And some already great ones will prove their mettle and become greater still.
Stripe is a business that emerges from our current turmoil stronger because they've helped support millions of other businesses in this time. And, as the world heals, helps countless businesses rebuild or get started.
It's not just a fantastic mission or a valuable one, it's a crucial one.