Stripe has been blessed with a few big advantages over its Netherlands-based digital payments rival, Adyen. Stripe serves smaller businesses, allowing it to take a bigger cut of each sale. The vast majority of its customers are in the U.S., a more lucrative market than that of the European-centric Adyen. The result has been faster growth for Stripe over the years, making it the largest digital payments processor by volume, analysts estimate.
And yet the valuation at which Stripe is raising money right now, $55 billion, is at a huge discount to Adyen’s $44 billion public trading valuation, at least as a multiple of expected 2024 revenue for each company. What gives? Stripe is now growing more slowly than Adyen, thanks to the e-commerce slowdown. But that’s not all. Stripe spent so heavily on staff and new business initiatives in recent years that its 2022 expenses per employee were twice those of Adyen, even though Adyen’s revenue per employee was higher, according to an analysis by The Information. The expense gap is expected to stay the same this year, although Stripe is expected to do better on revenue per employee.