Stripe marks Middle East expansion with office in Dubai

6 Apr 2021

Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image: © Rastislav Sedlak SK/Stock.adobe.com

Stripe will open its first office in the Middle East as its services launch across the United Arab Emirates.

Payments company Stripe is marking its first move into the Middle East with the opening of a new office in the United Arab Emirates.

Recently valued at $95bn, the company founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison is one of the most valuable US start-ups in the world.

The announcement of an office in Dubai comes alongside the launch of its services in the UAE. As of this week, businesses in the country can use Stripe’s platform to accept online payments and make pay-outs. They can also benefit from Stripe’s fraud protection tools.

“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs. Similarly, the pool of tech talent in the Middle East is growing very rapidly,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA business lead at Stripe.

“However, companies still face challenges when trying to accept payments, make pay-outs and manage the financial side of internet businesses. Stripe removes these complexities so businesses can focus on what makes them special.”

Henderson added that Stripe’s launch in the UAE would also mean connecting its global user base to the region.

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Stripe claims more than 10,000 companies have registered an interest in its UAE launch. To manage this demand, invites will be queued for the first weeks of availability.

A pre-launch beta programme to test the product in the UAE included companies such as Illusions Online, Aceplace, ChatFood and WeKeep, while Irish company Glofox is now using Stripe payments for customers in the UAE as well as its other markets.

Glofox offers gym management software and CEO Conor O’Loughlin said the launch of Stripe in the UAE could be “a catalyst” for expansion in the region.

Stripe’s entrance to the Middle East market is supported by a partnership with Dubai-headquartered payments company Network International.

Stripe estimates that digital payment transactions in the UAE have more than doubled in the last two years, reaching $18.5bn in 2020. While the company credits this growth to a surge in online commerce driven by Covid-19 restrictions, it’s still banking on growth to continue, forecasting an additional $10bn in UAE e-commerce over the next two years.

Last month, Stripe announced that its Irish base would be expanding with 1,000 new jobs to be added over the coming years. This expansion is expected to support the business’s continued growth in Europe. Stripe had also expressed its interest in expanding to new markets such as Brazil, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Last year saw Stripe launch in Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta. The company also expanded into Africa with the acquisition of Nigerian start-up Paystack in October.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com