Stripe’s John Collison looks to the skies with Weston Airport investment

4 Aug 2021

Image: © peshkov/Stock.adobe.com

Stripe co-founder John Collison is among a group of investors that has bought a majority stake in Weston Airport.

The owner of Weston Airport, Brian Conneely, announced yesterday (3 August) that a majority stake in the airport has been bought by a group of investors – including a major name in tech.

The group is led by Limerick-based financier Derick Walshe and includes Stripe co-founder and aviation enthusiast John Collison, along with John Brennan, Catherine Greene and Gerald Dundon.

The transaction is now conditional on due diligence, documentation and regulatory approval. Details of the deal were first revealed by The Currency.

Primarily used by light aircraft and helicopters, the 9,000 sq m airport on the border between Dublin and Kildare also hosts flight training, aircraft storage and refuelling facilities. In an announcement, Weston said that the airport will remain a general and business aviation facility coupled with flight training.

However, the investors intend to focus on developing Weston as a general aviation centre and modernise its facilities such as bars, restaurants and conference rooms.

Lead investor Derick Walshe said that a vibrant Weston is central to the health of general aviation in Ireland.

“Our investors are aviation enthusiasts who are focused on turning Weston into a state-of-the-art facility. Our plans are to invest in and upgrade the existing aviation and non-aviation facilities and to create a destination that is open and welcoming to the local community.”

All current staff at the airport will be retained, with a possibility of creating additional employment in the local area as the new and upgraded services are rolled out.

Collison investment

A name that stands out in the list of Weston’s latest investors is that of John Collison, the Irish tech entrepreneur who founded $95bn payments company Stripe with his brother Patrick 12 years ago.

Collison is a known aviation enthusiast and has publicly acknowledged his love for flying. In 2017, he flew a small plane across the Atlantic for 27 hours across three days. “Completed a bucket list item this weekend,” he quipped in a tweet at the time. “Didn’t even get wet.”

His airport investment comes at a time when San Francisco-headquartered Stripe is expanding. The fintech company recently made headlines in Ireland after revealing plans to add at least 1,000 jobs in the country over the next five years.

While Collison has denied answering questions about Stripe going public, recent reports suggested that the payments giant has secured a law firm to help prepare for an IPO.

Estimated to be worth $11.5bn each, the Collison brothers are among the richest self-made billionaires in the world. Their fortunes received a considerable boost after a $600m fundraise earlier this year valued at Stripe at almost $100bn.

Earlier this month, the brothers were also featured in Politico’s list of the 28 most influential people in European tech.

Vish Gain is a journalist and copywriter with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com